Bird Group

Bangor, ME, United States

Bird Group

Bangor, ME, United States
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Warren B.H.,University of Reunion Island | Strasberg D.,University of Reunion Island | Bruggemann J.H.,University of Reunion Island | Prys-Jones R.P.,Bird Group | Thebaud C.,CNRS Biological Evolution and Diversity Laboratory
Cladistics | Year: 2010

A corollary of island biogeographical theory is that islands are largely colonized from their nearest mainland source. Despite Madagascar's extreme isolation from India and proximity to Africa, a high proportion of the biota of the Madagascar region has Asian affinities. This pattern has rarely been viewed as surprising, as it is consistent with Gondwanan vicariance. Molecular phylogenetic data provide strong support for such Asian affinities, but often not for their vicariant origin; most divergences between lineages in Asia and the Madagascar region post-date the separation of India and Madagascar considerably (up to 87 Myr), implying a high frequency of dispersal that mirrors colonization of the Hawaiian archipelago in distance. Indian Ocean bathymetry and the magnitude of recent sea-level lowstands support the repeated existence of sizeable islands across the western Indian Ocean, greatly reducing the isolation of Madagascar from Asia. We put forward predictions to test the role of this historical factor in the assembly of the regional biota.© The Willi Hennig Society 2009. © The Willi Hennig Society 2009.


Hume J.P.,Bird Group | Steel L.,Natural History Museum in London
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2013

The solitaire (Columbidae; Pezophaps solitaria) of Rodrigues was an extinct giant flightless pigeon and the sister taxon to the dodo (Columbidae; Raphus cucullatus) from neighbouring Mauritius. The appearance and behaviour of the solitaire was recorded in detail by two observers before it became extinct in the mid 1700s. They described a prominent wing structure termed the 'musket ball' (carpal knob), which was used as a weapon and to produce an audible signal by either sex in territorial combat. Our study of subfossil solitaire bones from cave localities shows that the carpal knob formed after skeletal maturity, and reached its greatest size in adult males. We describe the morphology of the carpal knob, including its histology in thin section. It is an outgrowth of the processus extensorius of the carpometacarpus, but differs morphologically from homologous structures in other bird taxa, and thus is unique in Aves. We also compare the pectoral and wing osteology of the solitaire with that of the dodo, which had a similar morphology, but lacked any bony outgrowths on the wing. Furthermore, we suggest some biological and environmental factors leading to the evolution of this remarkable and unique carpal weapon. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London.


Collar N.J.,BirdLife International | Collar N.J.,Bird Group
Forktail | Year: 2011

Philippine bird taxonomy is relatively conservative and in need of re-examination. A number of well-marked subspecies were selected and subjected to a simple system of scoring (Tobias et al. 2010 Ibis 152: 724-746) that grades morphological and vocal differences between allopatric taxa (exceptional character 4, major 3, medium 2, minor 1; minimum score 7 for species status). This results in the recognition or confirmation of species status for (inverted commas where a new English name is proposed) 'Philippine Collared Dove' Streptopelia (bitorquatus) dusumieri, 'Philippine Green Pigeon' Treron (pompadora) axillaris and 'Buru Green Pigeon' T. (p.) aromatica, Luzon Racquet-tail Prioniturus montanus, Mindanao Racquet-tail P. waterstradti, Blue-winged Raquet-tail P. verticalis, Blue-headed Raquet-tail P. platenae, Yellow-breasted Racquet-tail P. flavicans, White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon (smyrnensis) gularis (with White-breasted Kingfisher applying to H. smyrnensis), 'Northern Silvery Kingfisher' Alcedo (argentata) flumenicola, 'Rufous-crowned Bee-eater' Merops (viridis) americanus, 'Spot-throated Flameback' Dinopium (javense) everetti, 'Luzon Flameback' Chrysocolaptes (lucidus) haematribon, 'Buff-spotted Flameback' C. (l.) lucidus, 'Yellow-faced Flameback' C. (l.) xanthocephalus, 'Red-headed Flameback' C. (l.) erythrocephalus, 'Javan Flameback' C. (l.) strictus, Greater Flameback C. (l.) guttacristatus, 'Sri Lankan Flameback' (Crimson-backed Flameback) Chrysocolaptes (l.) stricklandi, 'Southern Sooty Woodpecker' Mulleripicus (funebris) fuliginosus, Visayan Wattled Broadbill Eurylaimus (steerii) samarensis, White-lored Oriole Oriolus (steerii) albiloris, Tablas Drongo Dicrurus (hottentottus) menagei, Grand or Long-billed Rhabdornis Rhabdornis (inornatus) grandis, 'Visayan Rhabdornis' Rhabdornis (i.) rabori, and 'Visayan Shama' Copsychus (luzoniensis) superciliaris. However, Phapitreron leucotis nigrorum and P. l. brevirostris, P. amethystina maculipectus, Ceyx melanurus mindanensis, Orthotomus castaneiceps frontalis and Phylloscopus trivirgatus nigrorum do not quite make species status and require further vocal or other evidence; and Sulu or Black-billed Hanging Parrot Loriculus bonapartei and Camiguin Hanging Parrot L. camiguinensis are here considered to remain part of Philippine Hanging Parrot L. philippensis. © 2011 Oriental Bird Club.


Zuccon D.,Swedish Museum of Natural History | Prys-Jones R.,Bird Group | Rasmussen P.C.,Michigan State University | Ericson P.G.P.,Swedish Museum of Natural History
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2012

Phylogenetic relationships among the true finches (Fringillidae) have been confounded by the recurrence of similar plumage patterns and use of similar feeding niches. Using a dense taxon sampling and a combination of nuclear and mitochondrial sequences we reconstructed a well resolved and strongly supported phylogenetic hypothesis for this family. We identified three well supported, subfamily level clades: the Holoarctic genus Fringilla (subfamly Fringillinae), the Neotropical Euphonia and Chlorophonia (subfamily Euphoniinae), and the more widespread subfamily Carduelinae for the remaining taxa. Although usually separated in a different family-group taxon (Drepanidinae), the Hawaiian honeycreepers are deeply nested within the Carduelinae and sister to a group of Asian Carpodacus. Other new relationships recovered by this analysis include the placement of the extinct Chaunoproctus ferreorostris as sister to some Asian Carpodacus, a clade combining greenfinches (Carduelis chloris and allies), Rhodospiza and Rhynchostruthus, and a well-supported clade with the aberrant Callacanthis and Pyrrhoplectes together with Carpodacus rubescens. Although part of the large Carduelis- Serinus complex, the poorly known Serinus estherae forms a distinct lineage without close relatives. The traditionally delimited genera Carduelis, Serinus, Carpodacus, Pinicola and Euphonia are polyphyletic or paraphyletic. Based on our results we propose a revised generic classification of finches and describe a new monotypic genus for Carpodacus rubescens. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


More has been written concerning the extinction of Passenger Pigeon Ectopistes jnigratoriiis than any other extinct bird; the effects of trapping live birds for the shooting industry in the latter half of the 19th century is also seemingly well known. Here I present overlooked accounts and illustrations that appeared in contemporaneous newspapers describing the techniques used to capture live birds based on the experience of a professional pigeon trapper, and the subsequent fate of captured birds in shooting contests. © 2015 The Authors; © 2015 British Ornithologists' Club.


Van Grouw H.,Bird Group
Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club | Year: 2014

The white-speckled raven, a colour aberration of the Faroese Raven Corvus corax varius Brünnich, 1764, has occurred in the Faroe Islands since at least the Middle Ages. It has been described in many publications, and was a desired object for collectors of curiosities, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries. Early in the 20th century (1902) the last white-speckled individual was seen in the Faeroes, leaving only about two dozen specimens in museum collections. Although often referred to as albino, the aberration causing the white feathers is not albinism but leucism. © 2014 British Ornithologists' Club.


Van Grouw H.,Bird Group
Australian Field Ornithology | Year: 2012

Colour aberrations in birds are still poorly known among ornithologists, and the terms used to describe such variations are often used inconsistently. Here, I provide further information on plumage aberrations described in Guay et al. (2012: Australian Field Ornithology 29, 23-30) and Frith & Murphy (2012: Australian Field Ornithology 29, 40-44), including a discussion of the 'brown' mutation.


Hume J.P.,Bird Group
Geology Today | Year: 2012

The dodo, Raphus cucullatus (Aves, Columbidae), has become one of the most famous birds in the world, a true icon of extinction. Known from a few contemporary illustrations and accounts, probably more has been written about it than any other species, yet we know practically nothing about the bird in life. Recent excavations on Mauritius are now revealing the ecology and habitat of this iconic bird, and providing new information as to why it was so vulnerable to human interference. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, The Geologists' Association & The Geological Society of London.


The original diversity of the pigeons and doves (Columbidae: Nesoenas, Columba, Alectroenas) of the Mascarene Islands (Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues) has been poorly understood. Only two of perhaps as many as ten species are known from skin specimens, whereas the rest are known from old accounts and subfossil remains only. Most accounts, however, do not distinguish between species, so accurate identification is difficult to determine. The introduction of non-native pigeons has further exacerbated the problem and has led to erroneous interpretation. This paper provides a detailed re-analysis of the Mascarene columbid fauna (excluding the large, terrestrial "didines", the Dodo Raphus cucullatus and Solitaire Pezophaps solitaria), based partly on newly discovered subfossil remains. Key findings include: a new species of Alectroenas from Rodrigues and new species of Nesoenas and Columba from Mauritius; referral of the problematic species 'Columba' rodericana of Rodrigues to the genus Nesoenas; and documentation of new morphological and historical information concerning the extant Pink Pigeon Nesoenas mayeri and the extinct Mauritius Blue Pigeon Alectroenas nitidissima. The Columbidae comprises the largest avian radiation in the Mascarenes and probably colonised the islands at least four times from Madagascar and SE Asia during low sea level stands. Copyright © 2011. Magnolia Press.


The naming of colour aberrations in birds still causes widespread difficulty and confusion. This paper introduces a uniform system of nomenclature and provides a simple identification key for the most common plumage aberrations. Six main aberrant plumage types are grouped and named by their pigment reductions (gene actions). Identifying colour mutations in the field can be extremely difficult but this paper should make it possible to name many mutations correctly. © British Birds.

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