Vol.75 28 1955
Wings (flattened) : 56-62 (58.07) mm. (Seven specimens examined).
Type: In the Transvaal Museum, Pretoria.
Range: The coastal forests of Pondoland, eastern Cape Province, and
A new Chough from the highlands of Abyssinia
by Dr. A. L. Rand and Dr. C. Vaurie
Received 22nd December ; 1954
The subspecific status of the population of Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
which breeds in the highlands of Abyssinia has been questioned by Vaurie
(1954, Amer. Mus. Novitates, No. 1658, p. 6) in a recent review of the
species because this population is extremely isolated by distances varying
from about 2500 to more than 4000 kilometers from the nearest breeding
populations in northwestern Africa and Iran. Vaurie had no specimens
from Abyssinia but questioned whether the statements in the literature
are correct that this population is identical with that of Iran, the name of
which is docilis S. G. Gmelin, 1774.
Since this paper was published, we have examined two series from
Abyssinia, one of five specimens in the collection of the British Museum
(examined by Vaurie) and one of eight specimens in the collection of the
Chicago Natural History Museum (examined by Rand who sent six of
these specimens to Vaurie). We find that the population of Abyssinia is
distinct from doeilis or from barbarus, the name under which Vaurie in
1954 separated the population of north-western Africa. We believe that
it is desirable to call attention to the characters of this isolated population
and propose for it the name
Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax bailey i, new subspecies.
Type: Chicago Natural History Museum No. 83557; adult male;
Ras Dashan, northern Abyssinia; 11,200 feet; March 25th, 1927;
A. M. Bailey, collector.
Diagnosis: Differs from barbarus by having a longer wing, similar in
length to that of docilis but differing from the latter by having a longer bill.
Differs from both by being duller, less glossy on the wing as well as on the
mantle and on the underparts. It is the dullest population of the species
known to us.
Measurements: Type, wing 323, tail 153, bill 62. Comparative
measurements in adult males, docilis, 11 specimens, wing 306-330 (315),
tail 132-161 (145), bill 52-61 (56.8); barbarus, from Morocco and Algeria,
15 specimens, wing 290-310 (302), tail 129-153 (145), bill 61-67 (63.4):
baileyU 7 specimens, wing 310-329 (318.6); tail 145-155 (150.6), bill
54-56 (60.6 mm.).
Remarks: Though this is not a particularly well marked race, it is as
distinct as are most of the races in this species, and its characters make it
impossible to combine this extremely isolated population with either
docilis or with barbarus.
This subspecies is named for Dr. Alfred M. Bailey, now Director of the
Denver Natural History Museum, who was part of the 1 926-27 Daily-
News Abyssian Expedition of the Chicago Natural History Museum.