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Petronia or Gymnoris (1 Viewer)

Markus Lagerqvist

Well-known member
Sweden
Hi,

Wondering if someone knows what the ground is for classifying superciliaris, dentata, pyrgita and xanthocollis in the genus Gymnoris instead of Petronia?

IOC, H&M and HBW all use Gymnoris, but Clements still have them in Petronia.

Many thanks in advance!
Markus
 

l_raty

laurent raty
It's probably not the reason why they are classified separately, but genetic evidence suggests that Petronia sensu stricto is sister to Montifringilla (sensu lato?; eg.: Fig.1 in Fjeldså et al 2010 [pdf]), while Gymnoris is sister to Passer (eg.: supplementary material of Price et al 2014 [pdf]).
 
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Richard Klim

-------------------------
Summers-Smith 2009 (HBW 14)...
The six species of rock-sparrow were formerly lumped together in the genus Petronia, but current opinion recognizes that these are sufficiently distinct to be placed in three separate genera. The Pale Rock-sparrow (Carpospiza brachydactyla) differs from the others in its triangular-shaped wings, giving it an appearance in flight more like that of a lark (Alaudidae); it also builds an open cup-nest in a low bush. This and other characteristics, such as the fact that the post-juvenile moult is only partial, compared with the complete moult of other sparrows, have led H. Mendelssohn and others to suggest that it is not even a sparrow but, rather, a cardueline finch. Nevertheless, internal characteristics such as the cranium, and the structure of the horny palate and the digestive tract, confirm its relationships with the sparrows, although it is sufficiently distinct to be placed by itself in a separate, monotypic genus, Carpospiza. The story does not end there. The five remaining rock-sparrows fall into two distinct groups. One consists solely of the Common Rock-sparrow, which is confined to the Palearctic Region, is terrestrial in behaviour, and is associated with open, often barren, rocky ground. The second group contains the remaining four species, which occur widely over the Afrotropical, southern Palearctic and Oriental Regions and are more arboreal, living in open dry country with scattered trees, wooded savanna or open woodland; these are perhaps more appropriately termed "bush-sparrows" and are treated as belonging to a separate genus, Gymnoris, which is separated from Petronia on the basis of body structure and behaviour. Petronia has a short square tail with white terminal spots and longer wings, whereas the tail of Gymnoris is slender and slightly forked and lacks the white terminal spots; the bill of Petronia is heavy and conical, while that of Gymnoris is pointed and slender. Petronia, with its noticeably bouncy flight, is a highly social species, breeding mainly in loose colonies with up to 100 pairs, the nests at times separated by only a few metres. Its nest, usually placed in a crevice in a rock, a hole in an earth bank or a rodent burrow, is domed over like those of the Passer sparrows; it is largely terrestrial, and normally found in large flocks outside the breeding season. In contrast, Gymnoris species are much less social, at times in small flocks, but normally breeding in isolated pairs. They nest in tree cavities with usually only a pad of nest material, and are largely arboreal, using the pointed bill to obtain insects under tree bark, although they forage also on the ground.
Dickinson & Christidis 2014 (H&M4 2)...
GYMNORIS ...
For treatment as separate from Petronia, see Dickinson (2003).
But Dickinson 2003 (H&M3) provides no justification as far as I can see – or am I overlooking something...?​
Btw, BirdLife doesn't recognise Gymnoris (or Carpospiza), so it'll be interesting to see which treatment prevails in HBW/BirdLife Illustrated Checklist vol 2.
 
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l_raty

laurent raty
As usual I'd have loved to see a dozen (or two) references inserted in this HBW text...
Mendelssohn doesn't seem to have ever published his opinion about Carpospiza; this position was reported by, at least, Bock & Morony 1978 [pdf] and Zusi 1978 [here]. Zusi 1978 commented that the interorbital septum of a single skin of Carpospiza showed similarities to Petronia petronia and departed from carduelids. Later, Bock 2004 [pdf] reported having dissected a specimen in 1981 (!) and supported the placement of Carpospiza in Passeridae based on the structure of its tongue apparatus... Any idea who wrote about the horny palate and digestive tract?
Some slightly earlier discussion of the taxonomy of these birds is to be found in Козлова 1975 (Птицы зональных степей и пустынь Центральной Азии [djvu], p.211-214), but I haven't attempted translating it all yet.

My best guess of phylogenetic relationships, given what is currently available in GenBank (I used sequences of GAPDH, MYO, ODC, RAG1, and all the coverage I could find of mtDNA [except the control region--too hard to align in a data set including birds as distant as this]; lots of gaps in the data matrix), is in attachment.
 

Attachments

  • Passeridae-gapdh-myo-odc-rag1-mtDNA.pdf
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Markus Lagerqvist

Well-known member
Sweden
My best guess of phylogenetic relationships, given what is currently available in GenBank (I used sequences of GAPDH, MYO, ODC, RAG1, and all the coverage I could find of mtDNA [except the control region--too hard to align]; lots of gaps in the data matrix), is in attachment.


Interesting, thanks! :t:

Cheers!
Markus
 

Peter Kovalik

Well-known member
Slovakia
TiF Update April 20, 2016

Old World Sparrows: Gymnoris and Carpospiza have been repositioned based on Price et al., 2014 and Raty (BirdForum). Because Gymnoris is not sister to Petronia, I am calling them Bush-Sparrows, as in H&M-4 (Dickinson and Christidis, 2014). The IOC names are retained as secondary names.
 

Acanthis

Well-known member
Thanks Guys :)
I'd been wondering about this too Markus but hadn't delved any deeper. Interesting the relationship of Petronia petronia with Montifringilla & Pyrgilauda. It's easy to imagine a rather terrestrial, ancestral sparrow expanding into the current niches and regions
 

l_raty

laurent raty
Thanks Mark.

Suschkin 1924 is [here]; Suschkin 1927: [pdf]; I haven't seen Suschkin 1929 in its entirety, but it is in snippet view in [Google Books].

But none of these seems to say a word about Carpospiza (searching for "Carpospiza" or "Petronia brachydactyla" in the last one produces no hits), hence they cannot be the source of Summers-Smith's statement that "the structure of the horny palate and the digestive tract, confirm its relationships with the sparrows" -- which is what I was after.

Of course it may be that Summers-Smith really intended to refer to the evidence provided by Bock 2004, derived from the structure of the tongue, which he didn't otherwise allude to. ("Bock 2004" is among the references listed at the end of the Carpospiza brachydactyla species account in the same HBW volume.) There would be no doubt, if only HBW had used a reference system meeting the basic scientific standards.

(Oh, well...)
 
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Richard Klim

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But none of these seems to say a word about Carpospiza (searching for "Carpospiza" or "Petronia brachydactyla" in the last one produces no hits), hence they cannot be the source of Summers-Smith's statement that "the structure of the horny palate and the digestive tract, confirm its relationships with the sparrows" -- which is what I was after.

Possibly this (unlinked) reference...?
  • Ziswiler 1965. Zur Kenntnis des Samenöffnens und der Struktur des hörnernen Gaumens bei körnerfressenden Oscines. J Ornithol 106(1): 1–48. [abstract & preview]
 

l_raty

laurent raty
  • Ziswiler 1965. Zur Kenntnis des Samenöffnens und der Struktur des hörnernen Gaumens bei körnerfressenden Oscines. J Ornithol 106(1): 1–48. [abstract & preview]
This is about the structure of the horny palate. But, the studied "passerids" only included (on p.22):
4. P l o c e i d a e
[...]
a) Passerinae
Untersuchte Arten: Plocepasser mahali, Pseudonigrita arnaudi, Passer domesticus, Passer montanus, Philetairus socius, Passer luteus.
...No Petronia s.l. of any kind.
 

mb1848

Well-known member
Well a 1925 Sushkin gets closer.
https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/auk/v042n02/p0256-p0261.pdf .
But a 1954 article by Tordoff says:
Mention should be made of Sushkin's (1924:37, 1925:256, 1927:l-2)
discovery that certain species of Montifringilla (alpicola and nivalis) and a few other supposed fringillids are actually ploceids. Sushkin and
later authors (Witherby and others, 1938:153-54) placed Montifringilla
in the ploceid subfamily Passerinae, with Pyrgilauda, Onychostruthus,
Passer, Petronia, Gymnoris, and Sorella. Sushkin reached this decision
after study of the horny palate of the forms involved. Some later authors,
however, have misinterpreted Sushkin's intent. Sushkin intended that only nivalis and alpicola of Montijringilla be transferred to the Ploceidae. The remaining species of the genus (now in Leucosticte) he clearly stated were cardueline.
https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/56326/MP081.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y .
 

l_raty

laurent raty
My best guess of phylogenetic relationships [...]
I recently ran across this (while looking for a possible available occurrence of Carpospizinae):
Иваницкий ВВ. [Ivanitskii VV.] 1997. Воробьи и родственные им группы зерноядных птиц: поведение, экология, эволюция. [Sparrows and their allied groups of granivorous birds: behavour, ecology, evolution.] KMK Scientific Press, Москва [Moscow]. [djvu]​
...where (on pp.118-121) the author uses 20 morpho-ecological characters to build a tree with exactly the same topology. (And suggests a monotypic Carpospizinae for Carpospiza, Passerinae for the rest, divided into Passerini (Passer and Gymnorhis) and Montifringillini (Petronia, Pyrgilauda and Montifringilla.)
Find it amazing that I never saw this cited in the western literature... Or did I just miss it?
 
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Jacana

Will Jones
Hungary
IOC have adopted the name "Bush Sparrow" for the three Gymnornis species. Obviously the former Bush Petronia has been renamed to 'Sahel Bush Sparrow' to prevent silliness
 

MJB

Well-known member
IOC have adopted the name "Bush Sparrow" for the three Gymnornis species. Obviously the former Bush Petronia has been renamed to 'Sahel Bush Sparrow' to prevent silliness

Ummmm. Four Gymnoris species? G. superciliaries, dentata, pyrgita, xanthocollis... (IOC8.2)

Did you mean three of the four Gymnoris spp?
MJB
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
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