We describe Laniarius willardi, a new species of boubou shrike (Malaconotidae) from the Albertine Rift of Africa. The most conspicuous, distinguishing morphological feature of the species is a gray to blue-gray iris. This and external morphometric data indicate that L. willardi is diagnosable from other black or sooty boubous. Further, L. willardi is genetically diagnosable, and its closest relative is the Mountain Sooty Boubou (L. poensis camerunensis) from Cameroon. The Crimson-breasted Bush-shrike (L. atrococcineus) and the Lowland Sooty Boubou (L. leucorhynchus) are together the sister clade to L. willardi—L.p. camerunensis. Laniarius willardi and the geographically codistributed L. p. holomelas differ by 11.5% in uncorrected sequence divergence, and elevational data taken from museum specimens suggest the possibility of elevational segregation of the species at ∼2,000 m, withL. willardi occurring at lower elevations. Our broad sampling of black and sooty boubou taxa indicate that (1) races of Mountain Sooty Boubou (L. poensis) do not form a monophyletic clade; (2) L. p. camerunensismay represent multiple, nonsister lineages; and (3) at least one race of Fülleborn's Black Boubou (L. fuelleborni usambaricus) is genetically distinct from other races of that species.
Voelker, G, RK Outlaw, S Reddy, M Tobler, JM Bates, SJ Hackett, C Kahindo, BD Marks, JC Kerbis Peterhans, and TP Gnoske. "A New Species of Boubou (Malaconotidae: Laniarius) from the Albertine Rift." The Auk 127(3), 2010.
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© The American Ornithologists’ Union, 2010.