Corvus cecilae problëema Mathews

Lecroy, Mary, 2014, Type Specimens Of Birds In The American Museum Of Natural History Part 12. Passeriformes: Ploceidae, Sturnidae, Buphagidae, Oriolidae, Dicruridae, Callaeidae, Grallinidae, Corcoracidae, Artamidae, Cracticidae, Ptilonorhynchidae, Cnemophilidae, Paradisaeidae, And Corvidae, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 2014 (393), pp. 1-165 : 129

publication ID 10.1206/885.1


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Corvus cecilae problëema Mathews


Corvus cecilae problëema Mathews

Corvus cecilae problëema Mathews, 1923a: 42 (Derby, North-west Australia).

Now Corvus orru cecilae Mathews, 1912 View in CoL . See Mathews, 1927: 407–412; 1930: 896; Blake and Vaurie, 1962: 276; Rowley, 1970; Schodde and Mason, 1999: 606–607; and dos Anjos, 2009: 633.

HOLOTYPE: AMNH 674577 View Materials , female, collected at Derby , 17.19S, 123.38E (Times Atlas ), Fitzroy River, Western Australia, Australia, on 27 February 1902, by J.P. Rogers (no. 432). From the Rothschild Collection. GoogleMaps

COMMENTS: In the original description, Mathews, evidently in a hurry to have the name included in ‘‘Birds of Australia,’’ said that problëema differed from C. c. cecilae ‘‘in being smaller; wing 335 mm. ( cecilae wing 355 mm.). It also has a smaller bill. Type, Derby, North-west Australia.’’ AMNH 674577 is a female collected on 27 February 1902 by J.P. Rogers at Derby. I measure the wing as 335 mm., the bill as 51, and the tarsus as 58. These measurements fit within those given by Rowley (1970: 59) for western females of Corvus orru cecilae . It had been in the Rothschild Collection, but it does not bear a label indicating that it had been part of the Mathews Collection, nor did I find it listed in Mathews’ catalog. There have, however, been other infrequent instances in which Mathews used a Rothschild Collection specimen as a type.

The only AMNH specimen from Derby that had been in Mathews’ collection is AMNH 674576 (Mathews no. 8843), male, collected on 9 May 1911, by Rogers (no. 1624). This is an aberrant specimen with elongated and crossed mandibles with many juvenile brown feathers scattered throughout its very worn plumage. Rogers noted on his label that ‘‘this bird was fat & strong in spite of the malformed bill.’’ I measure the wing as about 300 mm (worn), tarsus 56. This specimen does not match Mathews’ description of problëema.

My next question concerned where Rothschild obtained his specimen from Derby. Thinking that perhaps it had been among specimens that Rothschild or Mathews had acquired from WAM, I wrote R. Johnstone. The above specimen had not come from WAM, and Johnstone referred me to a paper by Robert Hall on a collection made by Rogers on the Fitzroy River in 1902. This provided the link to the provenance of Rothschild’s specimen. Hall (1903: 42) reported that Rogers collected a female Corvus coronoides on 27 February 1902. While AMNH 674577 bears no indication that it came from Hall, Rothschild did purchase much of Hall’s private collection ( Whittell, 1954: 313), now in AMNH. Thus, good circumstantial evidence indicates that this specimen is the type of problëema.

This type and AMNH 674576, with crossed mandibles, are the only two specimens of corvids collected at Derby that came to AMNH with the Rothschild Collection. Because the wing measurement of AMNH 674577 matches that given by Mathews for the type of problëema, I believe that it can be accepted as the holotype. The name, problëema, was not listed by Hartert (1929a: 53–54). An AMNH type label has been added.

Should this name be used, the umlaut must be omitted (ICZN, 1999: 40, Art. 32.5.2).














Corvus cecilae problëema Mathews

Lecroy, Mary 2014

Corvus orru cecilae

dos Anjos, L. 2009: 633
Schodde, R. & I. J. Mason 1999: 606
Blake, E. R. & C. Vaurie 1962: 276
Mathews, G. M. 1930: 896
Mathews, G. M. 1927: 407

Corvus cecilae problëema

Mathews, G. M. 1923: 42
GBIF Dataset (for parent article) Darwin Core Archive (for parent article) View in SIBiLS Plain XML RDF