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The Auk Volume 124 Number 1 - Editor's Choice and an Announcement

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Michael T. Murphy, Editor


Speciation of Flightless Rails on Islands: A DNA-based phylogeny of the Typical Rails of the Pacific.

Jeremy J. Kirchman


Kirchman provides an extremely interesting, but unfortunately, equally tragic story of the evolution and extinction of flightless rails on isolated islands of the Pacific. Flightless species appear to have evolved repeatedly, and rapidly, throughout the Pleistocene as populations of volant rails budded off on different islands. Kirchman’s phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences, some of which were obtained from extinct species, shows that several genera named by early taxonomists are unjustified, and suggests that virtually all typical rails of the Pacific should be collapsed into the genus Gallirallus.



Species and Temporal Factors Affect Predator-specific Rates of Nest Predation for Forest Songbirds in the Midwest.

W. Andrew Cox, Frank R. Thompson III, and John Faaborg


Many studies of nest success exist, but relatively few have quantified the relative contribution of different potential nest predators to nest losses. Using ~90,000 hours of video data recorded over five years at eight sites within the Midwest, Cox et al. show that birds were the primary nest predators of Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) and Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens) nests, followed by snakes, and then mammals. The high proportion of nest destroyed by raptor and nonraptor species of birds was, for me, surprising, and highlights the need for more studies that provide definitive information on sources of reproductive failure in birds.




Observer Effects and Avian-Call-Count Survey Quality: Rare-Species Biases and Overconfidence.

Robert G. Farmer, Marty L. Leonard, and Andrew G. Horn


Readers of the online version of this article are welcome to listen to audio files that the author submitted with his article. The Auk now accepts multimedia files with regular manuscript submissions. (This material will not be available to readers who have elected to receive only the print journal). Appropriate multimedia include song recordings or short film sequences that, for instance, highlight behaviors or possibly methods that are unique, or other materials such as Google mapping, zoomable images, and interactive Flash content that are otherwise impossible to present textually but that substantially enhance the manuscript. The materials will be archived indefinitely by University of California Press and are therefore intended to be permanently available to future readers. There are no additional charges associated with this publishing option.

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