Gnatcatchers (Polioptilidae)

California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica) - HBW 11, p. 372

French: Gobemoucheron de Californie German: Kalifornienmückenfänger Spanish: Perlita Californiana

Taxonomy: Polioptila californica Brewster, 1881, Riverside, California, USA.
Forms a superspecies with P. melanura, and previously treated as conspecific. Geographical variation mostly clinal, generally becoming smaller, paler and shorter-tailed, with increasing amounts of white on outer rectrices, from N to S; ranges listed below somewhat arbitrary; birds on Espíritu Santo I and San José I of uncertain racial affiliation, tentatively placed in margaritae. Genetic data suggest that species perhaps better treated as monotypic. Four subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • californica Brewster, 1881 - extreme SW USA (coastal S California from S Ventura County S to USA-Mexico border).
  • atwoodi Mellink & Rea, 1994 - extreme NW Mexico (coastal N Baja California from Ensenada S to c. 30° N).
  • pontilis van Rossem, 1931 - C Baja California (c. 30° N S to 27° N).
  • margaritae Ridgway, 1904 - S Baja California (S from c. 27° N), including islands of Santa Margarita, San José and Espíritu Santo.

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