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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

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

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

Aplin, K. 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

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. T. 2015. A further note on the scientific name of Bullocks’ Oriole. Zootaxa, 3956(3) doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3956.3.9

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

Chesser, R. Terry, Banks, Richard C., Barker, F. Keith, Cicero, Carla, Dunn, Jon L., Kratter, Andrew W., Lovette, Irby J., Rasmussen, Pamela C., Remsen, J. V., Jr., Rising, James D., Stotz, Douglas E., Winker, Kevin and Winker, Kevin 2012. Fifty-Third Supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-List of North American Birds. Auk, 129(3): 573-588. doi:10.1525/auk.2012.129.3.573

Sonsthagen, Sarah, Chesser, R. Terry, Bell, Douglas and Dove, Carla J. 2012. Hybridization among Arctic white-headed gulls (Larus spp.) obscures the genetic legacy of the Pleistocene. Ecology and Evolution, 2(6): 1278-1295. doi:10.1002/ece3.240

Complete List of Chesser's Publications and Downloadable PDFs

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