Red-crested Cardinal Paroaria coronata
Version: 1.0 — Published July 10, 2015
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Paroaria coronata has no subspecies and is considered monotypic (Short 1975, Dickinson and Christidis 2014).
Red-crested Cardinal is one of six species in the genus Paroaria. Until recently, this genus was classified with sparrows and finches; however, molecular studies in the early 2000s (e.g., Yuri and Mindell 2002) began to consistently show the genus belongs to the tanagers (Family Thraupidae). Burns et al. (2014) performed a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of DNA of the family using nuclear and mtDNA and found that, within Thraupidae, Paroaria belongs to the large subfamily Thraupinae (the core tanagers). Within Paroaria, Burns et al. (2014) found strong support for a clade containing P. coronata and P. dominicana (Red-cowled Tanager); these two species previously were described as belonging to a superspecies (Short 1975). The clade containing these two species is the sister taxon to a clade containing the other Paroaria species that were sampled (P. baeri Crimson-fronted Cardinal, P. gularis Red-capped Cardinal, and P. capitata Yellow-billed Cardinal). In a molecular study using the ND2 gene, Nodori (2008) found the same set of relationships as Burns et al. (2014).In a molecular study based on cytochrome b, however, Dávalos and Porzecanski (2009), found P. coronata as the sole sister taxon to all other Paroaria in most of their analyses, albeit without strong support. Differences in the results of these studies are likely related to differences in the sampling. Dávalos and Porzecanski (2009) sampled more individuals, while Burns et al. (2014) focused on more loci and included more closely-related outgroups.
Red-crested Cardinal has been reported to hybridize with Paroaria capitata and to produce fertile offspring (Sick 1993).