Klicka, Barker, Burns, Lanyon, Lovette, Chaves & Bryson (in press). A comprehensive multilocus assessment of sparrow (Aves: Passerellidae) relationships. Mol Phylogenet Evol. [abstract]
[See also: Emberizoidea.]5. Conclusion
Modern taxonomies need be altered to include the 128 species shown in Fig. 1 as these represent all known extant species within the avian family Passerellidae (Barker et al. 2013). Importantly, this assemblage now includes the two traditionally thraupid genera Chlorospingus and Oreothraupis (although the former is polyphyletic, with C. flavovirens remaining placed among the tanagers). It no longer includes Emberiza and its allies (Urocynchramus, Melophus, Latoucheornis, Miliaria), nor does it include any of the taxa currently recognized as "tanager finches" (see Remsen et al., 2013). The latter includes 15 genera (Volatinia, Sporophila, Oryzoborus, Melopyrrha, Tiaris, Loxipasser, Loxigilla, Euneornis, Melanospiza, Pinaroloxias, Haplospiza, Acanthidops, Diglossa, Sicalis, Emberizoides) still recognized as sparrows in some current taxonomies (e.g. AOU, 1998).
Given the subjective nature of higher-level taxonomy, we focus only on those recommended changes that would eliminate para- or polyphyly within the group as it is currently configured. Ammodramus is polyphyletic; it is our recommendation that Ammospiza (Oberholser, 1905) be resurrected for the leconteii-maritimus-nelsoni-caudacutus clade and Passerherbulus (Stone 1907) for bairdii-henslowi. Pselliophorus (two species) is embedded within an otherwise monophyletic Atlapetes and should be subsumed within the latter genus. Spizella is also polyphyletic. The most efficient and appropriate solution to this problem is to erect a new genus for Spizella arborea.