Scarlet-breasted Dacnis Dacnis berlepschi



Geographic Variation

The Scarlet-breasted Dacnis (Dacnis berlepschi) is monotypic (Dickinson and Christidis 2014, Clements et al. 2015).

Related Species

Dacnis berepschi Hartert, 1900, Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club (11): 37
Type Locality: Lita, northwestern Ecuador

The most comprehensive phylogenetic systematic interrogation of Dacnis species was not able to sample the Scarlet-breasted Dacnis. Thus, molecular systematics has not been able to test the hypothesis that the Scarlet-breasted Dacnis is indeed a species of Dacnis (Burns et al. 2014). The Scarlet-breasted Dacnis is morphologically quite different from other species in the genus, and Burns (et al. 2014) regarded its placement as uncertain. Superficially its plumage resembles that of the Tit-like Dacnis (Xenodacnis parina), which is placed in Diglossinae (Burns et al. 2014). In addition, Storer (1970) doubted whether Dacnis berlepschi was closely related to other species of Dacnis, and Wolters (1975–1982) considered Xenodacnis parina and D. berlepschi closely related, placing both within the genus Xenodacnis. Following current taxonomy, the genus Dacnis includes the Scarlet-breasted Dacnis and 8 others species in the genus (Burns et al. 2016). Within Thraupidae (tanagers), Dacnis is placed in the subfamily Dacninae along with the Swallow Tanager (Tersina viridis) and Cyanerpes honeycreepers, though how these genera are related to each other remains unsupported (Burns et al. 2003, Burns et al. 2014). The genera Dacnis and Cyanerpes were previously considered members of the Neotropical "nectar-feeding family" Coerebidae (e.g., Sclater 1886, Hellmayr 1935), however many of these species have been shown to have converged on a similar morphology due to nectar feeding. Early researchers noticed that some coerebids shared similar morphological features with tanagers, such as horny palates, skull morphology, jaw muscles, and plumage similarities (Beecher 1951, Tordoff 1954, Storer 1969). Molecular data has confirmed these early hypotheses, and the Coerebidae has been largely rejected with Dacnis now placed in the Thraupidae (Isler and Isler 1987, Burns et al. 2003).

Recommended Citation

Scarlet-breasted Dacnis (Dacnis berlepschi), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: