In the following we briefly analyze and compare voice of the three races of Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica). We also try to quantify the extent of any vocal differences using the criteria proposed by Tobias et al. (2010), as a support for taxonomic review. We have made use of sound recordings available on-line from Xeno Canto (XC) and Macaulay Library (ML).
Race longicauda: There is some variation in voice over its large range, but song is typically a short phrase of 2-3s consisting of initial short, high-pitched staccato notes, intermixed or followed by a few emphasized louder lower-pitched notes. Some examples from Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam,
Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo (examples above chosen for their relationship, not to show full variation)(with sonograms in the pdf evrsion of this note).
Race javanica: There are only a few recordings available, but song apparently given more loosely, without clear repetitive phrases and slightly more warbling.
Race nigritorquis: Song consists mainly of short high-pitched notes, apparently often combined with dry short call notes.
Given the fairly wide vocal variation in longicauda, and the quite different song of javanica, differences of this combined group vs. nigritorquis are not obvious (and the latter actually sounds to the ear closer to longicauda than javanica to longicauda).
If needed to score, with some reservation (only 2 samples from javanica), we could say:
longicauda vs. nigritorquis: former typically combines high-pitched short simple notes with loud, emphatic lower-pitched notes, while latter lacks these or combines with dry short calls (estimated score 1-2).
longicauda vs. javanica: former typically combines high-pitched short simple notes with loud, emphatic lower-pitched notes, while latter combines more loosely a wider variety of more warbled notes over a larger frequency range (estimated score 2-3).
nigritorquis vs. javanica: former typically combines several high-pitched short notes with dry short calls, while latter combines more loosely a wider variety of more warbled notes over a larger frequency range (estimated score 2-3).
This note was finalized on 12th January 2016, using sound recordings available on-line at that moment. We would like to thank in particular the sound recordists who placed their recordings for this species on XC and ML: Desmond Allen, Peter Boesman, Tjalle Boorsma, David Edwards, David Farrow, Romeo Galang, Ben King, Doug Knapp, Frank Lambert, Tero Linjama, David Marques, Arnold Meijer, Mike Nelson and Sander Pieterse.
Tobias, J.A., Seddon, N., Spottiswoode, C.N., Pilgrim, J.D., Fishpool, L.D.C. & Collar, N.J. (2010). Quantitative criteria for species delimitation. Ibis 152(4): 724–746.
More Information: on187_pied_fantail.pdf