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Old Wednesday 5th March 2014, 21:23   #1
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What's next?

Given the new interesting findings that Spotted Wren-Babbler is a family of its own, not a babbler at all, and given the fact that I am quite bored at the moment, I thought I'd through out this question to you wise people out there:

Which possible weirdo candidates haven't been thoroughly examined yet? We've had the unexpected Leonardina, Hylocitrea, Laticilla and a bunch of other surprising move-abouts. To put it simply: what's next?
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Old Thursday 6th March 2014, 14:58   #2
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I don't know, but the pool of candidates has to be rapidly narrowing as more and more species level phylogenies of birds are being produced. Granted there are probably quite a few species where the work has been done but the taxonomy is not fully accepted. In that case we are likely to see quite a few monotypic or nearly monotypic families in the Caribbean because of the 9-primaried oscine work.
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Old Thursday 6th March 2014, 16:16   #3
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KNUD A. JØNSSON & JON FJELDSÅ A phylogenetic supertree of oscine passerine birds Zoologica Scripta,35, 2, March 2006, pp149-186 is also a good place to start.

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Old Thursday 6th March 2014, 19:26   #4
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There could be oddballs hidden away in many traditional genera, but there are definitely still plenty of spp that are still not placed with great certainty in any phylogeny. The following is not exhaustive but includes taxa that may still be unsatisfactorily placed or circumscribed:

A. Almost completely obscure (anyone's guess):

Androphobus viridis
Graueria vittata
Humblotia flavirostris
Cataponera turdoides


B. Uncertain family relationships:
Galloperdix spp. - Gallinae? Tetraogallinae? Odontophoridae?
Plectropterus gambensis - external to Anatidae?
Rallina spp. - Sarothruridae or Rallidae? Is this genus even monophyletic?
Himantornis haematopus - a monospecific family closer to Psophiidae?
Dromadidae - closer to Laridae or Glareolidae?
Phibalura spp.
Ptilorrhoa/Cinclosoma – related or not? Datasets don’t seem to agree.
Rhagologus leucostigma - still obscure.
Platylophus galericulatus – corvid, true shrike or bush-shrike? Latest opinions seem to favour Laniidae but is this convincing?
Eurocephalus/Corvinella corvina/Urolestes melanoleuca - Laniids or Malaconotids?
Auriparus flaviceps – seems particularly odd that this spp is still uncertainly placed. The recent Elachura paper supports its placement in Remizidae.
Namibornis herero
Pinarornis plumosus - in Myadestinae (Turdidae)?
Madanga ruficollis- close to Heleia or not really a white-eye?
Buffalo & Sparrow-like Weavers:Dinemellia/Bubalornis/Histurgops/Plocepasser/Pseudonigrita/Sporopipes
Carpospiza brachydactyla
- sparrow or finch?
Zeledonia coronata & Icteria virens - are monospecific families a cop-out?
Orthogonys chloricterus – closer to Mitrospingidae?

C. Messy internal taxonomy (almost certainly involving paraphyletic taxa at genus level or above):
Grebes
Sandgrouse
Herons, especially Egretta & Ardea - and where do Zebrilus and Agamia fit in?
Procellariidae subfamilies/Pelecanoididae - how are these related?
Burhinidae
Terns: Sterna/Thalasseus/Chlidonias
Eagle owls: Ketupa/Scotopelia/Bubo
Indicatoridae
Melanocharitidae
Laughing thrushes - Ianthocincla/Pterorhinus/Babax/Dryonastes/Rhinocichla/Melanocichla/Garrulax
African ‘true’ flycatchers
Akalats/Robin-chats
Nectariniidae
Australian ‘firetail’ waxbills
Ploceus/Malimbus weavers
Euphonia/Chlorophonia
Pselliophorus/Atlapetes

D. Genera that may well be monophyletic but are heterogeneous to the point of undiagnosability:
Ciconia storks
Phalacrocorax cormorants
Melanerpes woodpeckers
Falco falcons
Turdoides babblers - (most) Asian spp should be separated in Argya?
Sitta nuthatches

E. Species/genera that are not placed with any confidence at the subfamily or inter-generic level:
Melanoperdix niger
Rhizothera longirostris
Lerwa lerwa
Salvadorina waigiuensis
Schoutedenapus
spp.
Eutriorchis astur
Macheiramphus alcinus
- is this really a member of Harpiinae?
Tyto/Phodilus prigoginei
Jubula lettii
“Actenoides” bougainvillea
Leptosittaca branickii
Gymnomyza aubryana
– does not seem close to supposed congeners.
Myza spp.
“Alaemon” hamertoni
Elaphrornis palliseri
Psaltria exilis

Tephrozosterops stalkeri - embedded in Zosterops ? (but specific name problematic as Zosterops stalkeri already exists)
“Cantorchilus” griseus
“Niltava” concreta

Amblyospiza albifrons - related to Anomalospiza?
"Dacnis" berlepschi – closer to Xenodacnis?
"Sicalis" citrina - closer to Melanodera/Rowettia/Nesospiza?
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Last edited by andrew147 : Friday 7th March 2014 at 07:12. Reason: Additional spp
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Old Thursday 6th March 2014, 20:07   #5
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There could be oddballs hidden away in many traditional genera, but there are definitely still plenty of spp that are still not placed with great certainty in any phylogeny. The following is not exhaustive but includes taxa that may still be unsatisfactorily placed or circumscribed....
Andrew,
I was intending to attempt a response, but your compendium is far more comprehensive, and has saved my much fruitless work! Many thanks!
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Old Friday 7th March 2014, 03:28   #6
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B. Uncertain family relationships:
I'd add Pinarornis plumosus to this list (Turdidae? Muscicapidae?), as well as Madanga ruficollis and Tephrozosterops stalkeri - their plumage patterns seem odd for White-eyes, but then again John Boyd has them subsumed into Heleia as per Mayr, and this might prove correct, but i'd like to see some molecular data.

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A. Almost completely obscure (anyone's guess):

Humblotia flavirostris
This might just turn out to be embedded within the African Muscicapa flycatchers, or it could be completely unrelated - no other old world flycatcher has a bright yellow bill. Most of the Comoro endemics have their affinities with species from Madagascar, not mainland Africa (except, I think, the Pigeon and the Thrush). Perhaps it's another Vanga!

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Old Friday 7th March 2014, 06:08   #7
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MJB, you're welcome!

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Originally Posted by thyoloalethe View Post
I'd add Pinarornis plumosus to this list (Turdidae? Muscicapidae?), as well as Madanga ruficollis and Tephrozosterops stalkeri - their plumage patterns seem odd for White-eyes, but then again John Boyd has them subsumed into Heleia as per Mayr, and this might prove correct, but i'd like to see some molecular data.
Liam
I considered these spp but I thought their positions were more convincing:

Pinarornis in Myadestinae (Turdidae)

Tephrozosterops - embedded in Zosterops (but specific name problematic as Zosterops stalkeri already exists)

Madanga - close to Heleia

...who knows? I'll add them to the list...
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Last edited by andrew147 : Friday 7th March 2014 at 07:13.
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Old Friday 7th March 2014, 06:50   #8
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Wink

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I'd add Pinarornis plumosus to this list (Turdidae? Muscicapidae?), as well as Madanga ruficollis and Tephrozosterops stalkeri - their plumage patterns seem odd for White-eyes, Liam
From what I've heard whispered we're in for a big surprise on one of the above...
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Old Friday 7th March 2014, 19:49   #9
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Seeing Cataponera will remove any doubt that it is a thrush, most likely even a Turdus... as (I think) Richard Klim promised me.
Tephrozosterops, now that must be something odd!
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Old Friday 7th March 2014, 20:40   #10
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Seeing Cataponera will remove any doubt that it is a thrush, most likely even a Turdus... as (I think) Richard Klim promised me.
My memory is rapidly deteriorating, JH. But (I think) I'm innocent of that particular charge.
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Old Tuesday 11th March 2014, 07:40   #11
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I get the impression that Fire-tailed Myzornis doesn't fit comfortably anywhere. I mgiht have missed some recent info though.
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Old Sunday 23rd March 2014, 21:52   #12
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In slightly different vein, following the recent news about Anzu wyliei - how about a discovery that Palaeognathae and Neognathae are paraphyletic with respect to one or more extinct taxa traditionally called 'dinosaurs'?
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Old Sunday 23rd March 2014, 22:23   #13
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[quote=Xenospiza;2943775]Seeing Cataponera will remove any doubt that it is a thrush, most likely even a Turdus...QUOTE]

My thoughts exactly. As far as two other Sulawesi endemics are concerned, I find it quite surprising that Geomalia is now considered to be a Zoothera thrush and Malia a Locustellid. I expected the former at least to end up as a monospecific family.
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Old Monday 24th March 2014, 10:16   #14
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Anzu wyliei

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Originally Posted by Nutcracker View Post
In slightly different vein, following the recent news about Anzu wyliei - how about a discovery that Palaeognathae and Neognathae are paraphyletic with respect to one or more extinct taxa traditionally called 'dinosaurs'?
I will make some comments on this on the paleontology subforum.

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Old Tuesday 1st April 2014, 22:00   #15
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I'd be interested in a thorough analysis of the huge gob of species currently placed in Turdus. Various radiations on most continents (northern North America is surprisingly Turdus depauperate) has created one of the largest genera in the world. Yes, the group seems, on the whole, quite stereotypical, but I just don't see there being some deep divisions in that group.
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Old Wednesday 2nd April 2014, 18:41   #16
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There are some extensive studies on Turdus, which showed that some related genera were actually embedded in it, rather than deep divisions within the genus pointing to possible splits. I believe Mistle and Chinese Thrush were the most aberrant species, but they were still closer to the rest than to the somewhat similar Zoothera or Catharus.
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Old Wednesday 2nd April 2014, 18:57   #17
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I believe Mistle ... Thrush were the most aberrant species,
Which is a nice guarantee that no-one will ever dare to split the genus, as Mistle Thrush is the type of Turdus - split it as a monotypic genus, and you have to make ~80 new combinations for all the others
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Old Wednesday 2nd April 2014, 19:43   #18
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I'd be interested in a thorough analysis of the huge gob of species currently placed in Turdus. Various radiations on most continents (northern North America is surprisingly Turdus depauperate) has created one of the largest genera in the world. Yes, the group seems, on the whole, quite stereotypical, but I just don't see there being some deep divisions in that group.
There have been several studies on thrushes. This google search for me gave several links to papers that are relevant, all with PDF access mentioned: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=...ed=0CCYQgQMwAA

There also was a specific thread on some of these results a good while back here in birdforum, but I do not seem to be able to find it with a quick search.

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Old Thursday 3rd April 2014, 00:07   #19
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Which is a nice guarantee that no-one will ever dare to split the genus, as Mistle Thrush is the type of Turdus - split it as a monotypic genus, and you have to make ~80 new combinations for all the others
Don't say never... the botanists went through that with Acacia, and the politicking was much more intense than it ever would be with Turdus. You can google "acacia split" to read the whole story, but the bottom line was that the ICBN designated a new type species for Acacia.
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Old Thursday 3rd April 2014, 11:42   #20
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Don't say never... the botanists went through that with Acacia, and the politicking was much more intense than it ever would be with Turdus. You can google "acacia split" to read the whole story, but the bottom line was that the ICBN designated a new type species for Acacia.
That's true, but the ICBN are much more amenable to granting exceptions to the rules in the interests of nomenclatural stability than ICZN are. If ICBN-type methodology had been followed, American Redstart would have become Dendroica ruticilla, rather than having all the Dendroica moved to Setophaga.
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Old Thursday 3rd April 2014, 16:49   #21
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I also don't really see the need to split Turdus...having seen local species in the US, Europe, South Africa, and Japan...Turdus thrushes mostly all look alike to me in structure and build.
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Old Friday 25th April 2014, 11:05   #22
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The Crithagra (former Serinus) finches of Africa would benefit from a thorough study. It's very likely there's more than one genus involved there.
Plus there's those odd species like Serinus nigripes and Ankober Serin (Carduelis/Serinus/Crithagra?) that definitely need a closer look
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Old Sunday 27th April 2014, 15:59   #23
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Androphobus viridis
Available data:
GenBank: currently one ODC sequence.
BOLD: nothing.

The Genbank sequence is from Jønsson et al. 2011 [pdf incl. supporting info].
In this paper, Androphobus clusters with very high support (BS>95, PP>0.99 in Fig. S1) with Psophodes olivaceus. This is the expected position of the taxon based on morphology: so far, so good.
There is a potential problem here, though. Look at the data set (Table S1, lineage #31): Androphobus is represented by a single sequence of ODC; Psophodes is represented by sequences of myoglobin, ND2, and RAG1. Thus there is not a single base pair of DNA in the data set that is homologous between these two taxa. This is quite amazing, because this means that it is actually perfectly impossible, with this data set, to compute a divergence measure between these two taxa, or to identify any synapomorphy that would be shared by them. Were we to modify the trees of Fig. S1, by moving the node uniting them backwards or upwards (be it to the point that it merges with the directly more inclusive node in a trichotomy), this would have absolutely no effect on the goodness of fit of the tree...

This node can now be checked directly, though, as an ODC sequence of Psophodes olivaceus was recently made available [GenBank] by Aggerbeck et al. 2014 [pdf]. I have joined a tree based on selected ODC core-corvoid sequences: in this tree, Androphobus is sister to Psophodes with a 96% BS. Androphobus and Psophodes also share an apparently synapomorphic 11bp insertion in their ODC sequence, that reinforces their relationship.
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File Type: pdf core-Corvoidea.ODC-selected.consensus.pdf (20.6 KB, 50 views)
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Old Sunday 27th April 2014, 16:12   #24
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Graueria vittata
Available data:
GenBank: currently two partial cox1 sequence.
BOLD: nothing.

The cox1 sequences are from Sonet et al. 2001 [pdf].
One is 100bp, the other almost 300bp, which is a bit less than a half classical barcode.

100bp is really short; with the 297bp seq, I'd expect that it should be possible to link the species to reasonably a close relative. The closest other barcodes currently available are roughly 12% away from Graueria, and at this distance, the signal is clearly lost. OTOH, no potential relatives of Gaueria have been barcoded up to now, so maybe one day...
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Old Sunday 27th April 2014, 16:17   #25
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Humblotia flavirostris
Available data:
GenBank: nothing.
BOLD: nothing.

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Cataponera turdoides
Available data:
GenBank: nothing.
BOLD: nothing.
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