A new species of scops-owl (Aves, Strigiformes, Strigidae, Otus) from Príncipe Island (Gulf of Guinea, Africa) and novel insights into the systematic affinities within Otus

  • Articles in SCI Journals
  • Nov, 2022

Melo, M., Freitas, B., Verbelen, P., da Costa, S.R., Pereira, H., Fuchs, J., Sangster, G., Correia, M.N, de Lima, R.F. & Crottini, A. (2022) A new species of scops-owl (Aves, Strigiformes, Strigidae, Otus) from Príncipe Island (Gulf of Guinea, Africa) and novel insights into the systematic affinities within Otus.

ZooKeys, 1126, 1-54. DOI:10.3897/zookeys.1126.87635 (IF2021 1,496; Q3 Zoology)
Summary:

A new species of scops-owl (AvesStrigiformesStrigidaeOtus) is described from Príncipe Island, São Tomé and Príncipe (Gulf of Guinea, Africa). This species was discovered for science in 2016, although suspicions of its occurrence gained traction from 1998, and testimonies from local people suggesting its existence could be traced back to 1928. Morphometrics, plumage colour and pattern, vocalisations, and molecular evidence all support the species status of the scops-owl from Príncipe, which is described here as Otus bikegila sp. nov. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that this species descended from the first colonisation of the Gulf of Guinea islands, being sister to the clade including the mainland African Scops-Owl O. senegalensis, and the island endemics Sao Tome Scops-Owl O. hartlaubi and Pemba Scops-Owl O. pembaensis. The most diagnostic trait in the field is its unique call which, curiously, is most similar to a distantly related Otus species, the Sokoke Scops-Owl O. ireneae. The new species occurs at low elevations of the old-growth native forest of Príncipe, currently restricted to the south of the island but fully included within Príncipe Obô Natural Park. Otus bikegila sp. nov. takes the number of single-island endemic bird species of Príncipe to eight, further highlighting the unusually high level of bird endemism for an island of only 139 km2.


https://zookeys.pensoft.net/article/87635/

Team

  • A new species of scops-owl (Aves, Strigiformes, Strigidae, Otus) from Príncipe Island (Gulf of Guinea, Africa) and novel insights into the systematic affinities within Otus Ricardo Faustino de Lima Tropical and Mediterranean Biodiversity - TMB