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Red-cowled Cardinal Paroaria dominicana



Geographic Variation

There are no subspecies of Paroaria dominicana (Jaramillo 2011).  Nodari (2008) used mtDNA to study the phylogeography of this species and found no geographic structure (n=51 individuals).

Related Species

The Red-cowled Cardinal (P. dominicana) 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 2000's (e.g., Yuri and Mindell 2002) began to consistently show the genus belongs to the tanagers (Family Thraupidae). A series of studies using sequencing data from mtDNA (Burns and Naoki 2004, Sedano and Burns 2010), and mtDNA and nuclear DNA (Burns et al. 2014) show that Paroaria belongs to the clade of “core” tanagers, subfamily Thraupinae, which includes 102 species and 22 genera. The currently recognized species of Paroaria include these six species: Paroaria coronata, Paroaria dominicana, Paroaria capitata, Paroaria gularis, Paroaria nigrogenis, and Paroaria baeri (Clements et al. 2014). Burns et al. (2014) sampled all of these species, except P. nigrogenis, and found that P. dominicana is most closely related to P. capitata. These two species formed a strongly supported clade that was sister to all other members of the genus. Nodari (2008) analyzed ND2 from the same species and found the same result. The close relationship between P. coronata and P. dominicana also agrees with these two species forming a superspecies (Jaramillo 2011). However, Dávalos & Porzecanski (2009) included samples of P. nigrogularis (unsampled by Burns et al. 2014 and Nodari (2008), and found different results. In an analyses using cytochrome b, they did not find a strongly supported clade containing P. dominicana and P. coronata. Instead, they found P. dominicana to be the sister taxon to P. nigrogenis, a species not sampled in the other molecular studies. In combined molecular and morphological analyses, they found a different result, with either P. dominicana or P. coronata the sister to all other species of Paroaria. However, the placement of P. dominicana was not strongly supported in any of Dávalos & Porzecanski’s (2009) analyses. Differences in the topologies of the Dávalos & Porzecanski (2009) and the Burns et al. (2014) studies may be related to the sampling. Dávalos and Porzecanski (2009) sampled more individuals, while Burns et al. (2014) focused on more loci and included more closely related outgroups.

Recommended Citation

Red-cowled Cardinal (Paroaria dominicana), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: