Erithacus rubecula maior Pražák,

Mlíkovský, Jiří, 2011, Nomenclatural and taxonomic status of bird taxa (Aves) described by an ornithological swindler, Josef Prokop Pražák (1870 – 1904), Zootaxa 3005, pp. 45-68: 55-56

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Erithacus rubecula maior Pražák


Erithacus rubecula maior Pražák 

Erithacus rubecula maior Pražák, 1897 e: 249  .

NOW. Erithacus rubecula rubecula (Linnaeus, 1758)  . See ( Hartert (1910: 751) and Ripley (1964: 36).

Holotype. NHMW 11416, Ƥ, collected by an unknown collector on 17 Juli 1891 at “Zvičin bei Königinhof, NO Böhmen ” [= Zvičina, Czech Republic; 50.45 °N, 15.68 °E]. This specimen was donated by Pražák to the NHMW in 1893. Wing length = 67 mm (my measurement).

Remarks. Pražák (1894 d: 49–51) distinguished in north-eastern Bohemia two forms of Erithacus rubecula  , including a “grössere Form” (“larger form”) and a “kleinere Form” (“smaller form”), which he described in some detail, but which he did not formally name at that time. Later, Pražák (1897 e: 249) stated that he examined in addition to the Bohemian material “eine ... Reihe von 36 Vögeln beider Geschlechter aus den Karpathen” (“a series of 36 birds of both sexes from the Carpathians”), that his study of this additional material supported his former opinion that two subspecies of Erithacus rubecula  existed in Central Europe, and that he considered there was justification for a scientific name for the “larger mountain form”. In 2007 I found in the NHMW a single E. rubecula  labeled in Pražák’s hand as “grössere Gebirgsform” (“larger mountain form”), but I found no evidence that the name E. r. maior  was applied by Pražák to other specimens. I thus consider specimen NHMW 11416 the holotype of maior, believing that all other specimens mentioned by Pražák (1894 d: 49 –51, 1897e: 249–250) may have existed only in his mind.

Pražák (1894 d: 50, 1897e: 249–250) said that he described E. r. maior  from Bohemia, [Austrian] Galicia, and the Carpathians, mentioning a number of particular localities (but not restricting the occurrence of E. r. maior  to them). They included in the Czech Republic (current administrative divisions are applied throughout this paragraph): “Jaromeř” [= Jaromĕř; 50.35 °N, 15.92 °E], “Jičin” [= Jičín; 50.43 °N, 15.35 °E], “Königinhof” [= Dvůr Králové; 50.43 °N, 15.81 °E] and “Riesengebirge” [= Krkonoše Mountains]; in western Ukraine: “Delatyn” [= Dylyatyn; 48.53 °N, 24.63 °E], Porohy [48.69 °N, 24.27 °E], “Seletin [= Selyatyn; 47.87 °N, 25.22 °E], “Stole [unidentifed; perhaps a misprint for “Skole = Skol’ye; 49.03 °N, 23.52 °E], Stryj [= Stryy; 49.25 °N, 23.85 °E], and Turka [49.15 °N, 23.03 °E]; and in southeastern Poland: Baligród [49.33 °N, 22.28 °E], Dukla [49.57 °N, 21.68 °E], “Koroscienko” [= KroŠcienko; 49.47 °N, 22.67 °E] and Lutowiska [49.25 °N, 22.70 °E]. Ripley (1964: 36) listed “Stryj, East Galicia” as the type locality of E. r. maior  without explanation, but the type locality is Zvičina, Czech Republic, where the holotype was collected according to the label data. However, the specimen was donated by Pražák to the NHMW together with some demonstrably or probably fraudulent (relabeled) specimens (see above). Subsequent research thus might show that the specimen was collected at a locality other than that currently believed.

Schalow (1899: 85) and Hartert (1910: 751) spelled the species name incorrectly as major  , but maior is the correct original spelling. I found no differences between the holotype of E. r. maior  in the wing length (67 mm; my measurement; vs. 67–79 mm in 109 adult Czech and Slovak birds of both sexes; Kožená 1983) or morphology of other Central European Erithacus rubecula  , which supports previous opinion by Hartert (1901: 317; 1910: 751) and Ripley (1964: 36) that Pražák’s maior is inseparable from the nominotypical Erithacus rubecula rubecula (Linnaeus)  .


Naturhistorisches Museum, Wien














Erithacus rubecula maior Pražák

Mlíkovský, Jiří 2011

Erithacus rubecula maior Pražák, 1897 e : 249

Prazak 1897: 249