Batises and Wattle-eyes (Platysteiridae)

Grey-headed Batis (Batis orientalis) - HBW 11, p. 192

French: Pririt à tête grise German: Heuglinschnäpper Spanish: Batis Oriental
Other common names: Grey-headed Puff-back Flycatcher, Savanna Batis

Taxonomy: Platystira orientalis Heuglin, 1871, Modat Valley, Bogosland, Eritrea.
Part of a superspecies that probably includes also B. senegalensis, B. molitor, B. soror and B. pririt; possibly slight geographical overlap with first of those in N Cameroon. Precise distribution uncertain, and relationship with some other congeners unclear. May be closely related to B. molitor, to which it is similar acoustically, and in E of range could in fact be largely confined to Ethiopian Highlands and separated from that species by a band of semi-desert low country, which is filled to a certain extent by B. perkeo. Possibility of N-S intergra.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Platystira orientalis Heuglin, 1871, Modat Valley, Bogosland, Eritrea.
Part of a superspecies that probably includes also B. senegalensis, B. molitor, B. soror and B. pririt; possibly slight geographical overlap with first of those in N Cameroon. Precise distribution uncertain, and relationship with some other congeners unclear. May be closely related to B. molitor, to which it is similar acoustically, and in E of range could in fact be largely confined to Ethiopian Highlands and separated from that species by a band of semi-desert low country, which is filled to a certain extent by B. perkeo. Possibility of N-S intergradation of present species with B. erlangeri in general area of Chad-Central African Republic-W Sudan has been suggested; males of the two are extremely similar and old specimens from NE DRCongo cannot be reliably identified, and possibly these two have also been confused in Sudan, but according to another author they are separable in Ethiopia by wing length. Proposed race somaliensis (from Somalia) considered synonymous with bella, which itself is sometimes merged with nominate. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • chadensis Alexander, 1908 - NE Nigeria (just W of L Chad from Arege to Malamfatori, possibly also Mambilla Plateau), NE Cameroon, S Chad, N Central African Republic and SW Sudan, probably also W Ethiopia.
  • orientalis (Heuglin, 1871) - E Sudan, N Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  • lynesi C. H. B. Grant & Mackworth-Praed, 1940 - E Red Sea province of Sudan.
  • bella (Elliot, 1897) - C Ethiopia, Djibouti, N & S Somalia and locally NE Uganda (Mt Moroto) and N Kenya (Moyale area).

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