John Boyd (TiF):
Caspian Tit Poecile (lugubris) hyrcanus, Asian Marsh Tit P (palustris) brevirostris?The avian family Paridae (tits and chickadees) contains c. 55 species distributed in the Palearctic, Nearctic, Afrotropic and Indomalaya. The group includes some of the most well-known and extensively studied avian species, and the evolutionary history, in particular the post-glacial colonization of the northern latitudes, has been comparably well-studied for several species. Yet a comprehensive phylogeny of the whole clade is lacking. Here, we present the first complete species phylogeny for the group based on sequence data from two nuclear introns and one mitochondrial gene for 67 taxa of Paridae. Our results strongly support the inclusion of the Fire-capped Tit (Cephalopyrus flammiceps), currently placed in the Remizidae, as the basalmost member of the Paridae. The Yellow-browed Tit (Sylviparus modestus) and the Sultan Tit (Melanochlora sultanea) constitute the next two sequential branches whereas the remaining tits falls into two large clades, one of which contains the seed hoarding and nest excavating species. The indicated clades within these two groups are largely congruent with recent classifications, but several unforeseen relationships are indicated, such as non-monophyly of the Sombre Tit (Poecile lugubris) and the Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris), as well as non-monophyly of both the African grey and the African black tits. Further, our results support a close relationship between the White-fronted Tit (Parus semilarvatus) and the varied Tit (Poecile varius) as well as a close relationship between the White-naped Tit (Parus nuchalis) and the Yellow-cheeked and Black-lored tits (Parus spilonotus and P. xanthogenys). We propose a new classification that is in accordance with this phylogeny.
Poecile montanus tentatively includes songarus, affinis, stoetzneri and weigoldicus.Does this mean they don't endorse weigoldicus, aplonotus, minor and cinereus?
Johansson et al...Richard, as one of the key results (from a WP perspective!), I assume this one is well sampled and supported?
Our data strongly support monophyly of a clade containing the Rusty-breasted Tit (Poecile davidi), P. palustris, P. montanus, and their purported relatives, as well as a subspecies of the Sombre Tit (P. lugubris hyrcanus), but that species limits within this group need to be studied in more detail. ... The taxon hyrcanus, which has usually been considered to be a subspecies of P. lugubris, also appear to be closer to montanus–songarus complex as suggested by Harrap and Quinn (1996) based on similarities in voice and breeding biology. It is clear that the entire palustris /montanus complex, as outlined in this study, is in need of an extensive study to clarify relationships and species boundaries.
Poecile lugubris lugubris and Poecile lugubris hyrcanus are not sisters. As noted above, the Caspian Tit P. l. hyrcanus is part of the montanus/palustris complex, whereas the Sombre Tit (P. l. lugubris) appears in a more basal position within the Poecile.
John Boyd (TiF):