Common Cactus-Finch / Geospiza scandens

Common Cactus-Finch / Geospiza scandens

Common Cactus-Finch

SCI Name:  Geospiza scandens
Protonym:  Cactornis scandens Proc.Zool.Soc.London Pt5 no.49 p.7
Taxonomy:  Passeriformes / Thraupidae /
Taxonomy Code:  cocfin3
Type Locality:  Galapagos Islands; type from James Island, fide Swarth, 1931, Occ. Papers California Acad. Sci., 18, p. 190.
Publish Year:  1837
IUCN Status:  


(Thraupidae; Large Ground-finch G. magnirostris) Gr. γεω- geō-  ground-, earth-  < γη gē  earth; σπιζα spiza  finch  < σπιζω spizō  to chirp; "Mr. Gould exhibited from Mr. Darwin's collection of Birds, a series of Ground Finches, so peculiar in form that he was induced to regard them as constituting an entirely new group, containing 14 species, and appearing to be strictly confined to the Galapagos Islands. Mr. Gould believed the whole of these Birds to be undescribed, and remarked that their principal peculiarity consisted in the bill presenting several distinct modifications of form, while the general contour of the species closely assimilated. He proposed to characterize them under the separate generic appellations of Geospiza, Camarhynchus, Cactornis, and Certhidea.    GEOSPIZA. Corporis figura brevissima et robusta.  Rostrum magnum, robustum, validum, altitudine longitudinem præstante; culmine arcuato et capitis verticem superante, apive sine denticulo, lateribus tumidis.  Naribus basalibus et semitectis plumis frontalibus.  Mandibula superiori tomiis medium versus sinum exhibentibus, ad mandibulæ inferioris processum recipiendum. Mandibula inferior ad basin lata, hoc infra oculos tendente.  Alæ mediocres remige primo paulo breviore secundo, hoc longissimo.  Cauda brevissima et æqualis.  Tarsi magni et validi, digito postico, cum ungue robusto et digito intermedio breviore; digitis externis inter se æqualibus at digito postico brevioribus.  Color in maribus niger, in fœm. fuscus.   GEOSPIZA MAGNIROSTRIS.  (Spec. typ.)" (Gould 1837); "Geospiza Gould, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 5, p. 5, Oct. 3, 1837—type, by orig. desig., Geospiza magnirostris Gould." (Hellmayr, 1938, Cat. Birds Americas, Pt. XI, p. 130).  McKay & Zink 2015, formulate that the ground-finches represent a classic example of Sisyphean evolution, being transient locally adapted ecomorphs trapped before the completion of the speciation process, and that only one species, Darwin's Ground-finch G. magnirostris, should be recognised.  Sisyphean encapsulates the endless futility of a fruitless laborious task.  In Gr. myth. King Sisyphus of Corinth was punished in the void of eternity by having to push a huge boulder repeatedly up a hill, only for it to roll back before attaining the summit.
Var. Geospitza
Synon. Cactornis, Cactospiza, Camarhynchus.
• (Passeridae; syn. Montifringilla White-winged Snowfinch M. nivalis) "Einige wenige größere, aber sonst ähnliche Arten mit längeren Flügeln nennt man Erdfinken, (Geospiza:) weil sie fast beständig auf der Erde leben, und sich bloß auf Steine und Felsen, aber selten oder nie auf Bäume und Sträucher setzen.  ...  Schneefink. (Fring. nivalis.)" (Gloger 1841); "Geospiza Gloger, 1841, Gemein. Hand- und Hilfsbuch Naturgesch., p. 254.  Type, by monotypy, Fringilla nivalis Linnaeus, 1766." (JAJ 2021).

L. scandens, scandentis  climbing, ascending  < scandere  to climb (cf. Late L. scandere  to scan).
● ex “Picucule de Cayenne” of d’Aubenton 1765-1781, pl. 621 (syn. Dendrocolaptes certhia).


Common Cactus-Finch (scandens)
SCI Name: Geospiza scandens scandens
L. scandens, scandentis  climbing, ascending  < scandere  to climb (cf. Late L. scandere  to scan).
● ex “Picucule de Cayenne” of d’Aubenton 1765-1781, pl. 621 (syn. Dendrocolaptes certhia).

Common Cactus-Finch (intermedia)
SCI Name: Geospiza scandens intermedia
intermedea / intermedia / intermedianus / intermedium / intermedius
L. intermedius  intermediate, that is between (cf. Late L. intermedium  intervention, between two others; Med. L. intermedium  interval).  These epithets are common in ornithology, highlighting forms considered to have intermediate plumage, size, distribution, etc.; only a few are shown below.
• “Genus Ardea.   ...   A. intermedia.  ...  Habitat in insula Java.  Simillima habitu ac colore Ardeae flavirostri, eadem dimidio fere minor.” (Wagler 1829) (Ardea).
• "73.  Coracina papuensis papuensis Gm.   ...   The birds from the Snow Mts. are exactly intermediate between C. p. papuensis from N. W. New Guinea and C. p. meekiana from S. E. New Guinea; so I propose to call the race found on the south side of the Central Range.   Coracina papuensis intermedia subsp. nov." (Rothschild 1931) (subsp. Coracina papuensis).
• "Ce tinamou présente, comme nous l'avons dit, des caractères de transition entre Calopezus elegans et Calopezus formosus.  Cette nouvelle espèce, ou peut-être race intermédiaire, qui paraît localisée dans les régions montagneuses du Nord-ouest de la République Argentine, nous la distinguerons avec le nom de:  Calopezus intermedius n. sp.   ...   Il est possible que Calopezus intermedius et Calopezus formosus représentent seulement des formes géographiques de Calopezus elegans" (Dabbene & Lillo 1913) ( subsp. Eudromia elegans).
• "Formicivora   ...   F. grisea  ...  Kommt in Brasilien, Cayenne und Guiana vor.   ...   F. rufatra  ...  Vaterland: Brasilien und Bolivien.   ...   F. intermedia.  ...  Vaterland: Columbien" (Cabanis 1847) (Formicivora).
• "Falco pondicerianus apud Horsfield is a race intermediate to Haliastur indus of India proper and H. leucosternum of Australia, having dark central streaks to the white portion of the plumage, but considerably less developed than (constantly) in the Indian bird..  ...  Of very many examples of the Indian race examined or beheld close, I certainly have never seen one that had the dark streaks or lines so little developed as in the Javanese bird, or most assuredly I should have remarked it.  To what extent the Indian and Australian races may thus grade into each other, in other intermediate localities, remains to be ascertained.  ...  Mr. Gurney informs me that he thinks the Javanese race should be distinguished by the name intermedius." (Blyth 1865) (subsp. Haliastur indus).
• "Then we have in Tenasserim, most abundant in the hills, but extending in the cold weather to the sea-board and the plains of Pegu, a race of melaschistus, which I will, for convenience sake, denominate VOLVOCIVORA  INTERMEDIA.  It is very close to melaschistus, and as such I originally identified it, but with 24 specimens before me I find that sex being ascertained no specimen of it can be mistaken for a specimen of the corresponding sex of melaschistus, but it is much the same size, and the old males are nearly as possible the same colour as the females of melaschistus.  ...  I am very doubtful whether this should be considered a subspecies or not, but it is a very distinguishable and perfectly constant race, and not one single specimen of true melaschistus has occurred to us throughout the region in which it is so abundant, and it may be best therefore to characterize it by a distinct name." (Hume 1877) (subsp. Lalage melaschistos).
• "5.  SETOPHAGA  INTERMEDIA, Nob.  ...  Espèce typique intermédiaire entre la S. vulnerata et la S. verticalis, Lafresn.  Elle diffère de la première par un bec plus grand et plus large, par la gorge cendrée, par le coloris de la queue, par la couleur de l'abdomen; la S. verticalis, Lafr. est jaune d'œuf en dessous." (Hartlaub 1852) (subsp. Myioborus miniatus).
• "3. CRYPTOLOPHA  INTERMEDIA  La Touche, sp. n.   Near C. tephrocephala (Anders.) and C. affinis (Hodgs.).  Differs from the former in having a much shorter bill, and the secondary coverts distinctly tipped with pale yellow, forming a well-marked bar; from C. affinis it differs in having a ring of feathers round the eye, yellow." (La Touche 1898) (Phylloscopus).
• “728. —  Pipreola viridis intermedia  ...  Forme intermédiaire entre la P. viridis de la Bolivie et la P. melanolæma de l’Ecuador, plus voisine de la dernière.” (Taczanowski 1884) (Pipreola).
• "Ploceus intermedius.  Sehr nahe mit meinem Ploceus larvatus verwandte Art.  Vorderkopf bis über den hintern Augenwinkel, Kehle, Oberhals und Ohrengegend schwarz, Hinterkopf und Nacken röthlich braungelb.  Mitte der Brust orangengelb, Seiten des Halses und Unterkörpers citrongelb.  Rücken gelbgrün, gegen den Schwanz hin citronengelb." (Rüppell 1845) (Ploceus).
• “This species is somewhat intermediate between Palaeornis schisticeps and P. cyanocephala in size and coloration, but is nearer P. schisticeps” (Rothschild 1895) (syn. Psittacula cyanocephala x Psittacula himalayana).
• "RHIPIDURA  INTERMEDIA, sp. nov.  ...  Dr. Sharpe's description of Rhipidura rufifrons in the "Catalogue of Birds in the British Museum," vol. iv., p. 319 (1879), evidently applies to this species, for he describes the tail feathers as being "distinctly tipped with white."  The type of Rhipidura rufifrons characterized by Dr. Latham, was obtained in New South Wales, and has the tips of the tail feathers pale brown, not white.  In the latter respect Rhipidura intermedia agrees with R. torrida, described and figured (Proc. Zool. Soc., 1865, p. 477, pl. xxviii.) by Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace, from the island of Ternate, but R. torrida differs from R. intermedia in having the ear-coverts and upper breast black." (North 1902) (subsp. Rhipidura rufifrons).
• "Sp. intermedia n. sp.  ... Der [Sp.] hypoleuca im Schnabel und der ganzen Gestalt äusserst ähnlich, nur etwas kleiner, von dieser durch die nicht weisse, sondern graue Färbung der Kehle und Brust verschieden, mithin fast ganz so gefärbt wie Sp. plumbea, von welcher intermedia sich nur unterscheidet durch den grössern Schnabel und die kürzeren abgerundeteren, daher nicht so zugespitzten Flügel; auch sind Kehle und Brust etwas dunkler als in plumbea und fehlt das weisse Fleckchen an der Wurzel des Unterkiefers; der weisse Spiegel auf dem Flügel ist kleiner und versteckter" (Cabanis 1851) (Sporophila).
• "Thamnistes anabatinus intermedius subsp. nov.  ...  This form, based on but one specimen, is clearly an intermediate between T. æquatorialis of eastern Ecuador and southeastern Colombia, and the quite different T. anabatinus group of Panama to Mexico.  Its crown and back closely agree in color with those of æquatorialis while the underparts are similar to those of T. a. coronatus; the tail and wings externally are intermediate but nearer to those of coronatus." (Chapman 1914) (subsp. Thamnistes anabatinus).
• "33.  Thamnophilus intermedius, sp. nov.   SP. CHAR.—Adult male: Similar to that of T. nigricristatus LAWR., but bill larger, and feathers of crest largely white in middle portion; adult female similar to that of T. doliatus, but with larger bill." (Ridgway 1888) (subsp. Thamnophilus doliatus).
• "ZOSTEROPS  INTERMEDIA.  ...  Very near Z. flava, but a little larger, more yellow on the forehead and less on the upper tail-coverts, and the black subocular streak not extending so far forward  ...  Hab. Macassar and Lombock.   Remark.—Mr. G. R. Gray attached the MS. name of intermedius to my Macassar specimen." (Wallace 1864) (subsp. Zosterops chloris).

Common Cactus-Finch (abingdoni)
SCI Name: Geospiza scandens abingdoni
abingdoni / abingoni / abingtoni
● Montagu Bertie Lord Norreys of Rycote and 5th Earl of Abingdon (1784-1854) Lord-Lt. of Berkshire, patron of the sciences (Campethera).
● Abingdon I., Galápagos Is. (named after James Bertie 1st Earl of Abingdon (1653-1699) Lord-Lt. of Oxfordshire) (subsp. Geospiza scandens, syn. Pyrocephalus nanus).

Common Cactus-Finch (rothschildi)
SCI Name: Geospiza scandens rothschildi
● Lionel Walter 2nd Baron Rothschild of Tring (1868-1937) English ornithologist (syn. Amazona barbadensis, subsp. Arachnothera longirostra, Astrapia, Bangsia, subsp. Bostrychia olivacea, subsp. Buteo buteo, syn. Camaroptera superciliaris, syn. Casuarius unappendiculatus, subsp. Charmosyna pulchella, syn. Cochoa viridis, CrithagraCypseloides, syn. Daphoenositta chrysoptera striata, syn. Diomedea exulans, syn. Diphyllodes magnificus, syn. Eos bornea, subsp. Fregata magnificens, subsp. Geospiza scandens, subsp. Geotrygon saphirina, syn. Granatina ianthinogaster, syn. Gygis alba candida, Heliangelus x Eriocnemis, syn. Hemitriccus zosterops, subsp. Heteromyias armiti, syn. Irediparra gallinaceaLeucopsar, syn. Micropsitta pusio, subsp. Muscicapa sibirica, subsp. Nucifraga caryocatactes, ‡syn. Pachyornis elephantopus, syn. Phaethon rubricauda, syn. Phalacrocorax onslowi, subsp. Phasianus colchicus, syn. Pitta sordida, subsp. Pomatorhinus superciliaris, subsp. Psilopogon lagrandieri, syn. Rhea americana albescens, syn. Rhea americana intermedia, syn. Sericulus chrysocephalus, subsp. Serilophus lunatus, syn. Stipiturus malachurus westernensis, syn. Sylvia melanocephala momus, syn. Tanysiptera nympha, subsp. Zosterops minor) (see rothschildii).
● Maurice Edmond Charles Baron de Rothschild (1881-1957) French politician, art collector, big-game hunter, patron of the arts, Senator 1929-1945 (syn. Anthoscopus sylviella, syn. Campephaga phoenicea, syn. Columba iriditorques, syn. Euplectes hordeaceus craspedopterus, subsp. Hirundo lucida, syn. Laniarius funebris, syn. Pyrenestes ostrinus).