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Department of Vertebrate Zoology

Division of Birds

Labrador Duck
Labrador Duck
Christina Gebhard © Smithsonian Institution
bar Image of R. Terry Chesser, USGS Curator
    R. Terry Chesser
    Research Zoologist, USGS

  • Phone: (202) 633-4886
  • Fax: (202) 357-1932
  • E-mail: chessert[at]

  • Mailing Address:
    USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
    c/o Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 111
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    Division of Birds
    10th and Constitution Ave, NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0116

Related Links

USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center


Ph.D., Louisiana State University. (1995)
B.A., Georgia State University. (1982)

Research Interests

My research focuses on avian systematics, evolution, and biogeography. Current interests include: (1) systematics and evolution of the Furnariidae (ovenbirds) and other suboscine birds; (2) South American biogeography, especially of the Andean and Amazonian regions; (3) biogeography and ecology of South American austral migrants; (4) coevolution of phabine pigeons (Phabini) and their feather lice; (5) systematics and biogeography of the Turnicidae (buttonquail); (6) phylogeography and movement patterns of Australian waterbirds; and (7) systematics and biogeography of a variety of other Australian and Australasian bird and mammal groups.

Recent Publications

Rader, Jonathan A., Newsome, Seth D., Sabat, Pablo, Chesser, R. T., Dillon, Michael E. and Martínez Del Rio, Carlos 2017. Isotopic niches support the resource breadth hypothesis. The Journal of Animal Ecology, 86(2): 405-413. doi:10.1111/1365-2656.12629

Sweet, Andrew D., Chesser, R. Terry and Johnson, Kevin P. 2017. Comparative cophylogenetics of Australian phabine pigeons and doves (Aves: Columbidae) and their feather lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera). International journal for parasitology, 47(6): 347-356. doi:10.1016/j.ijpara.2016.12.003

Chesser, R. Terry, Burns , Kevin J., Cicero, Carla, Dunn, Jon L., Kratter, Andrew W., Lovette, Irby J., Rasmussen, Pamela C., Remsen, J. V., Jr., Rising, James D., Stotz, Douglas F. and Winker, Kevin 2016. Fifty-seventh Supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds. The Auk, 133(3): 544-560. doi:10.1642/AUK-16-77.1

Chesser, R. Terry 2016. A replacement name for Asthenes wyatti perijanus Phelps 1977. Zootaxa, 4067(5): 599 doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4067.5.9

Sonsthagen, Sarah A., Wilson, Robert E., Chesser, R. Terry, Pons, Jean-Marc, Crochet, Pierre-Andre, Driskell, Amy C. and Dove, Carla J. 2016. Recurrent hybridization and recent origin obscure phylogenetic relationships within the 'white-headed' gull (Larus sp.) complex. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 103: 41-54. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.06.008

Rader, Jonathan A., Dillon, Michael E., Chesser, R. Terry, Sabat, Pablo and del Rio, Carlos Martínez 2015. Morphological divergence in a continental adaptive radiation: South American ovenbirds of the genus Cinclodes. The Auk, 132(1): 180-190. doi:10.1642/AUK-14-49.1

Chesser, R. Terry 2015. A further note on the scientific name of Bullocks’ Oriole. Zootaxa, 3956(3) doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3956.3.9

Aplin, Kenneth P., Rhind, S. G., Have, J. Ten and Chesser, R. T. 2015. Taxonomic revision of Phascogale tapoatafa (Meyer, 1793) (Dasyuridae; Marsupialia), including descriptions of two new subspecies and confirmation of P. pirata Thomas, 1904 as a ‘Top End’ endemic. Zootaxa, 4055(1): 1-73. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4055.1.1

Chesser, R. T., Banks, Richard C., Burns, Kevin J., Cicero, Carla, Dunn, Jon L., Kratter, Andrew W., Lovette, Irby J., Navarro-Sigüenza, Adolfo G., Rasmussen, Pamela C., Remsen, J. V., Rising, James D., Stotz, Douglas F. and Winker, Kevin 2015. Fifty-sixth Supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union: Check-list of North American Birds. The Auk, 132(3): 748-764. doi:10.1642/AUK-15-73.1

Rick, Torben C., Sillett, T. Scott, Ghalambor, Cameron K., Hofman, Courtney A., Ralls, Katherine, Anderson, R. S., Boser, Christina L., Braje, Todd J., Cayan, Daniel R., Chesser, R. Terry, Collins, Paul W., Erlandson, Jon M., Faulkner, Kate R., Fleischer, Robert C., Funk, W. C., Galipeau, Russell, Huston, Ann, King, Julie, Laughrin, Lyndal, Maldonado, Jesús E., McEachern, Kathryn, Muhs, Daniel R., Newsome, Seth D., Reeder-Myers, Leslie, Still, Christopher, et al 2014. Ecological Change on California's Channel Islands from the Pleistocene to the Anthropocene. Bioscience, 64(8): 680-692. doi:10.1093/biosci/biu094

Chesser, R. Terry 2013. On the correct name of Icterus bullockii (Passeriformes: Icteridae). Zootaxa, 3718(3): 295-296. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3718.3.6

Complete List of Chesser's Publications and Downloadable PDFs

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