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Masked Cardinal Paroaria nigrogenis



Geographic Variation

Monotypic (Restall et al. 2007), although this species was previously classified as a subspecies of P. gularis. 

Related Species

The Masked 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 2000's (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). Until recently, the Masked Cardinal was considered conspecific with the Red-capped Cardinal (P. gularis), but based on genetic and external morphological data, the Masked Cardinal is now classified as its own species (Dávalos and Porzecanski 2009, Clements et al. 2015). Relationships among Paroaria species have been addressed by Burns et al. (2014) and Dávalos and Porzecanski (2009). The latter study is the only one to include genetic samples of P. nigrogenis. In these phylogenies, P. nigrogenis and P. gularis are not sister taxa, despite the fact they were recently considered subspecies of the same species. Instead, in most of their molecular and morphological analyses, Dávalos and Porzecanski (2009) found that P. nigrogenis was most closely related to a clade containing these recognized species: P. baeri, P. gularis, and P. capitata. However, in one of their trees, P. nigrogenis and P. dominicana are sister taxa. 

Recommended Citation

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