New species of antwren (cf Dutch Birding 23: 172, 2001)
Antbirds are a prominent part of the South American fauna but many species are poorly known and even new species are regularly discovered. During the 1980s, two new species of antwren were discovered in north-eastern Brazil. Further field work in this region and detailed museum studies have revealed a third new species which was recently named as Caatinga Antwren Herpsilochmus sellowi (Whitney, B M, Pacheco, J F, Buzzetti, D R C & Parrini, R 2000. Systematic revision and biogeography of the Herpsilochmus pileatus complex, with description of a new species from northeastern Brazil. Auk 117: 869-891). The new species was previously confused with Bahia Antwren H pileatus, but these species are now known to be different in several structural, plumage and vocal characteristics. Caatinga Antwren occurs patchily in caatinga woodland in several states in north-eastern Brazil. The 'true' Bahia Antwren is confined to southern coastal Bahia where it is restricted to a narrow band of restinga woodland and coastal forest. Both species are considered to be rare or vulnerable. Another Brazilian endemic, Black-capped Antwren H atricapillus, consists of two morphs which show weak differences in plumage and vocal characters. The authors suggest that these forms may be in the process of speciation but hesitate to describe one morph as a new form.