Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Melba Finch (Pytilia melba) - HBW 15, p. 331

French: Beaumarquet melba German: Buntastrild Spanish: Estrilda Melba
Other common names: Green-winged/Yellow-breasted Pytilia, Melba Waxbill

Taxonomy: Fringilla Melba Linnaeus, 1758, China; error = Luanda, Angola.
Was thought possibly to form a superspecies with P. hypogrammica, but such a relationship not supported by molecular analysis. Has been suggested that red-lored citerior and grey-lored percivali represent two different species, but red-lored and grey-lored males intergrade across E Africa, and many intermediates occur. Race soudanensis intergrades with citerior in S Sudan, with jessei in Djibouti and with grotei in NE Tanzania. Proposed race clanceyi (described from Bahr el Ghazal, in Sudan) treated as a synonym of citerior; da.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Fringilla Melba Linnaeus, 1758, China; error = Luanda, Angola.
Was thought possibly to form a superspecies with P. hypogrammica, but such a relationship not supported by molecular analysis. Has been suggested that red-lored citerior and grey-lored percivali represent two different species, but red-lored and grey-lored males intergrade across E Africa, and many intermediates occur. Race soudanensis intergrades with citerior in S Sudan, with jessei in Djibouti and with grotei in NE Tanzania. Proposed race clanceyi (described from Bahr el Ghazal, in Sudan) treated as a synonym of citerior; damarensis (from Windhoek, in W Namibia) and thamnophila (from Big Bend, on R Great Usutu, in E Swaziland) synonymized with nominate. A population in Djibouti with much yellow in plumage named as race flavicaudata (but no museum specimen), and apparently identical birds occur in N South Africa (Northern Cape Province), both possibly variants or additional races; a yellowish bird from Northern Cape appears to be a leucistic individual of nominate race, having mitochondrial sequence identical to that of others of this species in the region; further study required. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • citerior Strickland, 1853 - S Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and N Ivory Coast E to N Nigeria, Chad and S Sudan (W of R Nile).
  • jessei Shelley, 1903 - NE Sudan, Eritrea, NE Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia.
  • soudanensis ( Sharpe, 1890) - S & SE Sudan, S & E Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, and N & E Kenya S to N Tanzania.

     See all 8 subspecies
  • citerior Strickland, 1853 - S Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and N Ivory Coast E to N Nigeria, Chad and S Sudan (W of R Nile).
  • jessei Shelley, 1903 - NE Sudan, Eritrea, NE Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia.
  • soudanensis ( Sharpe, 1890) - S & SE Sudan, S & E Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, and N & E Kenya S to N Tanzania.
  • belli Ogilvie-Grant, 1907 - W Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, E DRCongo (Kivu) and W Tanzania.
  • percivali van Someren, 1919 - C & SW Kenya and N Tanzania.
  • hygrophila Irwin & Benson, 1967 - N Zambia and N Malawi.
  • grotei Reichenow, 1919 - NE Tanzania S to lower R Zambezi and S Malawi.
  • melba ( Linnaeus, 1758) - S PRCongo, W & SE DRCongo, Angola, Zambia (except N) and SW Tanzania S to C Namibia, S Botswana, Zimbabwe, S Mozambique, N South Africa and E Swaziland.
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