Original Articles

A new subspecies of the Red-billed Hornbill, Tockus erythrorhynchus, from West Africa

Published in: Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology
Volume 71, issue 3-4, 2000 , pages: 363–366
DOI: 10.1080/00306525.2000.9639831
Author(s): Bernard TrecaLaboratoire d'Ornithologie, IRD, Dakac Senegal,, Christian ErardLaboratoire d'Ecologie generale, UMR8571 CNRS-MNHN, Brunoy, France,


Trea, B. & Erord, C. 2000. A new subspecies of the Red-billed Hornbill, Tockus erythrorhynchus, from West Africa. Ostrich 71 (3&4):363-366. The Red-billed Hornbill, Tockus erythrorhynchus (Temminck), over most of its distribution range, has pale yellow or pink facial skin. However, in Senegal, The Gambia and Western Mali, where all Red-billed Hornbills are usually referred to the nominate subspecies, all adults have black circumorbital (facial) bare skin, conspicuous on live birds as well as on skinned specimens, and brown eyes. Field and museum studies suggest that these black-faced and brown-eyed birds from the western-most part of Africa belong to a yet undescribed subspecies. A review of the documents (including various black-and-white ond colour plates) on which Temrninck based his original description and naming of the species shows that there is uncertainty obout the locality of the type specimen illus-trated in the originol description. Furthermore, neither the plates nor their accompanying texts show the black facial pattern charac-teristic of these westem-most West African populations. To avoid confusion in future, and to ensure nomenclatural stability, a new type-locality and a neotype are designated for nominate Tockus erythrorhynchus, and a new nome is proposed for the populations extending from Senegal, The Gambia and Guinea to the inner Niger Delto in Mali. Further studies are needed to ascertain the status of these brown-eyed and black-faced birds: their facial colouration pattern could be associated with other eco-ethological characters and could play an important role in specific mate recognition sys-tems. [A French translation of the abstractis provided on p. 366.]

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