BIOBYTE #6 December 2003



General Newsbytes 
BioMap Diary
BioMap Directive Committee



June-July 2003: 8,286 specimens from La Salle, Bogotá.

June-Sept.: 400 specimens from Warsaw Museum, Poland.

July: 325 specimens from Distrital University in Bogotá.

July: data gathered at the Genoa, Turin and Milan Museums in Italy: c.200 specimens in Genoa, 300 hummingbird specimens (mounted) in Turin and 230 in Milan.

July-Nov.: 1300 specimens from Bonn Museum, Germany.

August 7-12: IV Field Course on Techniques for Monitoring Terrestrial Birds held in Jardin, Antioquia. 50 participants graduated with BioMap support.

Aug: 549 specimens from Antioquia University, Medellín.

Aug: Conference on BioMap, collections importance and management given at the Antioquia University.


Aug: 1,362 specimens from Michigan University Museum.

Aug: systematization of Swiss museums: 2,800 specimens in Genoa, 160 in Bern and 260 in Neuchatel.

Aug-Sept.: 495 specimens from State of Michigan Museum

Sept: 3,436 specimens from San José Museum in Medellín.

Sept.: 158 specimens from Yarumos EcoPark, Manizales.

Sept.: Systematization of 30,000 Colombian bird specimens held at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, commenced.


Oct-Nov: 5,000 specimens from Valle University in Cali.

Sept. 29-30 – Oct. 1: BioMap participation in the National Ecology Meeting at the Javeriana University in Bogotá.

Sept.-Oct: 2,600 specimens from the Paris Museum, France.

Oct. 5-11: BioMap participation at the VII Neotropical Ornithological Congress held in Chile.

Oct. 10-12: BioMap participated in the 3rd European Bird Collections Conference held in Leiden, Holland

Nov.: BioMap participation at the XVIII National Ornithological Meeting in Jardín, Antioquia, Colombia, with BioMap poster and presentation provided.

Nov.: 100 specimens at the Cleveland Museum compiled.

Nov.: 3,500 specimens from California Uni Mus., Berkeley.

Nov.: 90 specimens at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, USA compiled.

Nov.: 5,500 specimens from Los Angeles County Museum.

Nov: 1500 specimens from Munich Museum, Germany.

To date: 192,164 Colombian specimens data-based



General Newsbytes

News From Europe

Nigel Cleere and Robert Prys-Jones attended the 3rd European Conference on bird collections held in Leiden, Holland. Nigel gave a talk on BioMap: “The first two years of global cooperation between museums”.

In the past 5 months, Nigel has visited:
• Bonn Museum (Germany) – 1,300 Colombian specimens databased, many of them with full records – principally Trochilidae collected by Fassl (Kleinsmidt collection) in the western and Central Cordillera. There were also a small number of specimens received from the Universidad del Valle in the late 1970’s. Types present included Chalcostigma herrani tolimae and Ocreatus underwoodi incommodus. Endemics included Coeligena prunellei (7) and Hypopyrrhus pyrohypogaster (1).
• Genoa (Italy) – 200 specimens were located. Most were Trochilidae from Bogotá or Colombia with no other data.
• Turin (Italy) – in one of the two major collections, only about 300 mounted Trochildae were held, all without data. In the main Turin museum, about 230 specimens were located. Endemics included Pyrrhura calliptera (1).
• Milan (Italy) – about 160 Colombian specimens, with 30 specimens from K. von Sneidern, all with full data from 1955 and 1956. Endemics included Campylopterus phainopeplus (2 – H. Whitely) and Habia gutturalis (1)
• Geneva Museum (Sw’land) – much time was spent here since it has c.2800 modern Colombian specimens; mostly from K. von Sneidern, with full data. A large number of specimens had been incorrectly identified and were therefore updated. Endemics included Atlapetes flaviceps (1), Hypopyrrhus pyrohypogaster (1), Odontophorus hyperythrus (5), & Eriocnemis mirabilis (1).


• Bern Museum (Sw’land) – there were about 160 specimens, all from Bogotá (some modern).
• Neuchatel – (Sw’land) 260 specimens, mostly labeled just Bogotá, although there were a few specimens collected by O. Furhmann in 1910 from Medellín.
• Warsaw Museum (Poland) – c.400 old specimens were located, mostly from Bogotá although a good number from Medellín by T.K. Salmon. Types included Aglaiocercus kingi emmae (1 syntype) and Sporophila minuta minuta (holotype of Spermophila minuta heteropygia). Endemics included Dacnis egregia (2) and Coeligena prunellei (2).
• Paris Museum (France) – made possible with generous EU funding (Colparsyst Programme). The museum holds c.2600 specimens. The majority have little data, although a number are more complete e.g. from Medellín by T.K. Salmon, Cauca by A. Pazos in the 1960’s, some exchanged material from AMNH (Santa Marta), some Universidad del Valle specimens collected by F.C. Lehman. Many types encountered. Endemics included Rallus semiplumbeus (4); Hypopyrrhus pyrohypogaster (7); Coeligena prunellei (1); Odontophorus hyperythrus (4); Habia gutturalis (4); Ramphocelus flammigerus (26); Anisognathus melanogenys (1); Chlorochrysa nitidissima (1); Dacnis egregia (7); Cistothoorus apolinari (2) & Pyrrhura calliptera (9 inc. type).
• Munich museum (Germany) – c.1500 specimens were inspected, many with full data. Important collections from J. Haffer (1960’s from Antioquia), M.G. Palmer (c.1908 in western Colombia), J.H. Batty (1890’s in Cauca), Bardy (1912 in Cundinamarca), G. Hopke (1890’s from Putumayo) and L.E. Orozco (1960’s at many localities). There were also about 150 AMNH specimens. A good selection of type and endemic specimens were found.

We would like to thank all curators, collection managers and assistants at each European collection for their help and support.

News from Colombia

Diana Arzuza and Andrea Morales data-based 8,286 specimens at La Salle Museum; 325 specimens at the Distrital University Museum (both in Bogotá); 549 specimens (many of them mounted for exposition) at the University of Antioquia collection; and 3,436 specimens (mostly research skins) at the San José College collection (both in Medellín).

In Manizales BioMap visited the Christ School collection (now donated to the Los Yarumos EcoPark). Most of the specimens were collected by the Maristas brothers and the curator Jose Lozada. 156 mounted specimens were found from the Manizales area., with the oldest specimens dating from the 1940’s, from Villa Marista in Popayán.

The University del Valle collection in Cali holds more than 5,000 specimens mainly from the Cauca Valley and Central and Western Andean ranges. There were many specimens from the Chocó (Buenaventura and Dagua), Gorgona Island and some of Caldas, Quindío and Risaralda.

The data on all specimens in these collections was gathered and entered into the BioMap Data Entry Tool. A copy of each collections data was then provided to the curators. Many of these collections had already started the process of entering their data.

Diana and Andrea also helped with the IV Field Course on Techniques for Monitoring Terrestrial Birds by ProAves Foundation, held in Jardín, Antioquia, including giving a presentation on bird collections management and preliminary analyses of BioMap data. The presentation was repeated at Antioquia University.

From November 13-17, BioMap participated in the XVI National Ornithological Meeting held in Jardín, Antioquia. Diana and Andrea gave a presentation on the use of collections and GIS to analyze data from Antioquian avifauna. They also presented a poster about BioMap.

The Digital Scanning Project of key bird taxonomy books for collections in Colombia has almost finished. The CDs will be given to all Colombian collections and other parties that request them. Some of the vital books scanned include the “Checklist of Birds of the World” by Peters, “Catalogue of birds of the Americas” by Hellmayr & Conover, “The Birds of the Republic of Colombia” by M. de Schauensee and “The Distribution of Birdlife in Colombia” by F. Chapman. This project has been conducted by Instituto Alexander Von Humboldt and Project BioMap.

News From North America

Juan Carlos Verhelst has visited the collections at University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (UMMZ), Michigan State Nat. Hist. Museum – Lansing (MSUMNH), Cleveland Nat. Hist. Museum (CMNH), and the National Museum of Nat. Hist. (NMNH) in Washington DC. Details:

• UMMZ holds 1362 specimens, most of them collected by C.J. Marinkelle (454 specimens), K. Von Sneidern (278 specimens), M.C. Carriker (184 specimens) and P. J. Darlington (105 specimens). Many thanks to the curators R. Payne, D. Mindell and collection manager Janet Hinshaw.
• At MSUMNH, 495 Colombian specimens, most of them collected by M.C. Carriker (430 specimens), were data-based. Many thanks to curators Barbara and Pam Rasmussen and collection manager Laura Abraczinskas.
• CMNH holds 100 specimens, most of them “Bogotá skins” including 50 hummingbirds. Specimens with more complete data are thought to have been sent to the Carnegie Museum although the event is not registered anywhere. Thanks to the curator Tim Matson and assistant Roberta.
• At the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian), Juan Carlos and Clara Isabel reported c.30,000 Colombian specimens, many of them collected by M.C. Carriker and others by A. Wetmore. Many thanks to curators Dr. Gary Graves and Dr Storrs Olson, and collection manager: James Dean.


Sussy De La Zerda visited and data-based specimens at the University of California in Berkeley (MVZ) and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco (CAS). Sussy also started data-basing the LA County Natural History Museum in Los Angeles (LACM).

• In Berkeley there are 3,500 Colombian bird specimens, most of them collected by A.H. Miller. Holotypes include Tangara schrankii anchicayae, Sporophila intermedia anchicayae, Tiaris bicolor huilae, Coryphospingus pileatus rostratus and Chordeiles acutipennis acutipennis. Many thanks to the curator Carla Cicero.
• The CAS collection has 85 specimens, mostly hummingbird “Bogotá skins”. Many thanks to curator John Dumbacher, and collection manager Douglas Long.
• At LACM, there are 5,500 specimens whose data is presently being gathered. Many thanks to collection manager Kimball Garrett.

Other news
Sussy De La Zerda, Paul Salaman and Gary Stiles attended and presented a talk about BioMap at the VII Neotropical Ornithological Congress held in Chile. The talk was given in the Cooperation meeting and although this meeting was scheduled on the last day of the congress, many people attended and many interesting questions were asked.


BioMap Diary

Activities to be completed over the coming months are:
• Finish databasing Colombian (UIS, Caldas, Nariño, Pamplona, Cauca, Tolima, INCIVA) and US collections (Smithsonian, Carnegie, Los Angeles County Museum, Western Foundation for Vertebrate Zoology).
• Field collecting trips to gather new information.
• Data analysis to model distributions, identify and prioritize Important Bird Areas.
• Promote and support the initiative in other taxonomic groups and other countries.



BioMap Directive Committee

Gonzalo Andrade & Gary Stiles – Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Robert Prys-Jones (chair) – The Natural History Museum.

Jose Vicente Rodriguez – Conservation International – Colombia

Alvaro Espinel – Conservation International – Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, USA