Turquoise Dacnis Dacnis hartlaubi

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Holly McMullen, Casey H. Richart, and Kevin J. Burns


Geographic Variation

Turquoise Dacnis is monotypic (Dickinson and Christidis 2014, Clements et al. 2015).

Related Species

Turquoise Dacnis (Dacnis hartlaubi) is one of nine species in the genus Dacnis (Dickinson and Christidis 2014, Clements et al. 2015). It was described by Sclater in 1855 from "Nova Grenada", meaning Colombia, with La Cumbre, Valle Department, suggested as a type locality by Carriker (1955). Turquoise Dacnis was formerly classified in the monotypic genus Pseudodacnis (e.g., Sclater 1863, Hellmayr 1936, Meyer de Schauensee 1966, 1970, Sibley and Monroe 1990), and commonly was referred to as Turquoise Dacnis-Tanager. This placement in Pseudodacnis was based on its bill, which is heavier that of other species of Dacnis (Hellmayr 1936, Hilty 2011). At the time, Dacnis was placed in a family of 'Neotropical honeycreepers' (Coerebidae), while Pseudodacnis was classified as a species of tanager (Thraupidae); species of Dacnis now also are considered to be tanagers, and Coerebidae no longer is recognized (Burns et al. 2003, Remsen et al. 2016). Turquoise Dacnis was merged into Dacnis by Storer (1970), and subsequent classifications have followed this treatment, which agrees with other morphological characters (e.g., plumage coloration and pattern, and the yellow irises). Molecular phylogenetics has confirmed this placement (Burns et al. 2014). The relationships of hartlaubi within Dacnis have not yet been resolved, however. A recent phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial and nuclear loci recovered Turquoise Dacnis as sister to a clade containing Viridian Dacnis (Dacnis viguieri) as sister to Black-faced Dacnis (Dacnis lineata), but there is only moderate support for these relationships (Burns et al. 2014).

Dacnis is a member of the subfamily Dacninae, which includes a monophyletic and strongly supported Dacnis, a monophyletic and strongly supported Cyanerpes, and the monotypic Tersina (Burns et al. 2014). The Dacninae are very sexually dichromatic, with blue males and green females, and analyses have revealed they are more dichromatic then initially perceived when plumage is quantified using an avian visual model (Burns and Shultz 2012, Burns et al. 2014). Although their plumage patterns are similar, the shape of the bills between these genera are very different, with having a particularly short and (usually) slender bill (Burns et al. 2003, Burns et al. 2014).

Recommended Citation

McMullen, H., C. H. Richart, and K. J. Burns (2018). Turquoise Dacnis (Dacnis hartlaubi), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.turdac1.01