Molecular Biology and Genetics

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Specimen Records: 1443
Specimens with Sequences: 1209
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Species: 248
Species With Barcodes: 233
Public Records: 517
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Psittacidae

The family Psittacidae one of three families of true parrots consists of two subfamilies, the Old World or Afrotropical parrots (Psittacinae) and the New World or Neotropical parrots (Arinae).[1] The family numbers approximately 10 species in the Old World, and 148 species in the New World,[2] and included several species that have gone extinct in recent centuries. Some of the most iconic birds in the world are represented here, such as the blue-and-gold macaw among the New World parrots and the African grey parrot among the Old World parrots. These parrots are found in tropical and subtropical zones and inhabit Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean islands, sub-Saharan Africa and the island of Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula. Two parrots, one extinct, formerly inhabited North America.[3]

This family likely had its origin early in the Paleogene period (66-23 mya) after the western half of Gondwana had separated into the continents of Africa and South America, before the divergence of African and New World lineages c. 30-35 mya. It is estimated that the New World parrots (Arinae) and by implication Old World parrots, last shared a common ancestor with the Australian parrots (Cacatuidae) c. 59 mya.[4] The data place most of the diversification of psittaciforms around 40 mya, after the separation of Australia from West Antarctica and South America.[5][6] Divergence of Psittacidae from the ancestral parrots resulted from a common radiation event from what was then West Antarctica into South America then Africa via late Cretaceous land bridges that survived through the Paleogene.[7]

Taxonomy[edit]

The recently revised taxonomy of the family Psittacidae, based on molecular studies, recognizes the sister clade relationship of the Old World Psittacini and New World Arini tribes of subfamily Psittacinae,[8] which have been raised to subfamily ranking and renamed Psittacinae and Arinae. Subfamily Loriinae and the other tribes of subfamily Psittacinae are now placed in superfamily Psittacoidea of all true parrots which includes family Psittacidae.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leo Joseph, Alicia Toon, Erin E. Schirtzinger, Timothy F. Wright & Richard Schodde. (2012) A revised nomenclature and classification for family-group taxa of parrots (Psittaciformes). Zootaxa 3205: 26–40
  2. ^ "Zoonomen: Zoological Nomenclature Resource". 
  3. ^ Forshaw, J. (2000). Parrots of the World, 3rd Ed. Australia: Lansdowne. pp. 303, 385. 
  4. ^ Tavares, Erika; Yamashita, Miyaki (Jan 2004). "Phylogenetic Relationships Among Some Neotropical Parrot Genera Based on Mitochondrial Sequences". The Auk 121 (1): 230–242. doi:10.1642/0004-8038(2004)121[0230:prasnp]2.0.co;2. 
  5. ^ Schweizer, M.; Seehausen O; Hertwig ST (2011). "Macroevolutionary patterns in the diversification of parrots: effects of climate change, geological events and key innovations". Journal of Biogeography (38): 2176–2194. 
  6. ^ Wright, et.al, T. (Oct 2008). "A Multilocus Molecular Phylogeny of the Parrots (Psittaciformes): Support for a Gondwanan Origin during the Cretaceous". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 25 (10): 2141–2156. doi:10.1093/molbev/msn160. 
  7. ^ Remsen, Van. "Proposal (599) to South American Classification Committee: Revise classification of the Psittaciformes". Retrieved Oct 2013. 
  8. ^ Collar, N. (1997). Birds of the World, Vol.4. del Hoyo. p. 241. 
  9. ^ Joseph, et.al (2012). "A revised nomenclature and classification for family-group taxa of parrots (Psittaciformes)". Zootaxa (3205): 26–40. 


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True parrots

The true parrots are about 330 species of bird belonging to the superfamily Psittacoidae, one of the three superfamilies in the biological order Psittaciformes (parrots). The others superfamilies are the Cacatuoidae (cockatoos) and New Zealand Strigopoidae which are also parrots, but not classified as true parrots. True parrots are more widespread than cockatoos, with species in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and eastwards across the Pacific Ocean as far as Polynesia.

Contents

Overview

The true parrot family formerly were often considered to contain two subfamilies, the Psittacinae (typical parrots and allies) and the Loriinae (lories and lorikeets). However, today these two groups are ascribed full family status, being called Psittacidae and Loriidae.

Like most parrots the Psittacidae are primarily seed eaters. There is some variation in the diet of individual species, with fruits, nuts, leaves and even insects and other animal prey being taken on occasion by some species. The lorikeets are predominately nectar feeders; many other parrots will drink nectar as well. Most Psittacidae are cavity nesting birds which form monogamous pair bonds.

They have a beak with a characteristic curved shape, the jaw with a mobility slightly higher than where it connects with the skull, and a generally upright position. They also have a large cranial capacity and are one of the most intelligent bird groups. They live in tropical areas, are good fliers and skillful climbers on branches of trees.

The Parrots are distributed throughout the Southern Hemisphere on the planet, covering many different habitats, from the humid tropical forests to deserts of the inside of Australia, including India, the Southeast Asia and West Africa, and one species, now extinct, in the United States (the Carolina parakeet). However, the larger populations are native to Australasia, South America and Central America.

Some species can imitate the human voice and other sounds, although they do not have vocal cords - instead possessing a vocal organ at the base of the trachea known as the syrinx.

Many species are defined as endangered species, although besides some not globally threatened species, locally are extinct in great available areas.

This condition is mainly due to permanent alteration of their habitat: depletion, destruction and fragmentation, hunting for being considered a threat to crops and because they have historically suffered the capture of chicks and juveniles from communal nest to be sold as pets. But there are a number of different threats: To make space for more agricultural land, large areas of forest are cut down, taking away its habitat. Wild animals populations are stealing, killing and poaching illegally taking wild animals contrarily to local and international conservation and wildlife management laws. Hunting or capture includes the destruction of nests, egg collecting and capturing young. This violations of hunting laws and regulations are punished by law in these countries, but in practice the actions go unpunished. This combination of factors extirpated the species from most of its range from the early years of the 20th century. Of the animals removed from the wild to be sold, very few survive during capture and transport, and those who fail to do so, usually can not resist and they die by the poor conditions of captivity, poor diet and stress. Trapping wild parrots for the pet trade, as well as hunting, habitat loss and competition from invasive species, has diminished wild populations, with parrots being subjected to more exploitation than any other group of birds.[1] Measures taken to conserve the habitats of some high-profile charismatic species have also protected many of the less charismatic species living in the same ecosystems.[2]

The researcher Irene Pepperberg has published work on the learning capacity of an African grey parrot named Alex,[3] that was trained to use words in order to identify objects, describing, counting, and even answer complex questions, such as "How many red squares are there? "(with an accuracy of 80%). However, some researchers argue that parrots merely repeat words without thought of meaning.

Phylogeny

The following classification is based on the most recent proposal, which in turn is based on all the relevant recent findings.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Family Psittacidae

Family Psittrichasiidae

Family Psittaculidae

Image gallery

Species lists

Books

  • Bruce Thomas Boehner - Parrot Culture. Our 2,500-year-Long Fascination with the World's Most Talkative Bird (2004)

References

  1. ^ Snyder, N; McGowan, P; Gilardi, J; & A Grajal (2000), Parrots: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan, 2000-2004. Chapter 1. vii. IUCN ISBN 2-8317-0504-5. Chapter 1. vii.
  2. ^ Snyder, N; McGowan, P; Gilardi, J; & A Grajal (2000), Parrots: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan, 2000-2004. Chapter 1. vii. IUCN ISBN 2-8317-0504-5. Chapter 2. page 12.
  3. ^ http://www.eurekalert .org/pub_releases/2005-07/bu-agp070805.php
  4. ^ Leo Joseph, Alicia Toon, Erin E. Schirtzinger, Timothy F. Wright & Richard Schodde. (2012) A revised nomenclature and classification for family-group taxa of parrots (Psittaciformes). Zootaxa 3205: 26–40
  5. ^ "The evolutionary history of cockatoos (Aves: Psittaciformes: Cacatuidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59: 615–622. 2011. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.03.011. 
  6. ^ Manuel Schweizer, Ole Seehausen and Stefan T. Hertwig (2011). "Macroevolutionary patterns in the diversification of parrots: effects of climate change, geological events and key innovations". Journal of Biogeography 38: 2176–2194. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02555.x. 
  7. ^ Leo Joseph, Alicia Toon, Erin E. Schirtzinger, Timothy F. Wright (2011). "Molecular systematics of two enigmatic genera Psittacella and Pezoporus illuminate the ecological radiation of Australo-Papuan parrots (Aves: Psittaciformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59: 675–684. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.03.017. 
  8. ^ Wright, T.F.; Schirtzinger E. E., Matsumoto T., Eberhard J. R., Graves G. R., Sanchez J. J., Capelli S., Muller H., Scharpegge J., Chambers G. K. & Fleischer R. C. (2008). "A Multilocus Molecular Phylogeny of the Parrots (Psittaciformes): Support for a Gondwanan Origin during the Cretaceous". Mol Biol Evol 25 (10): 2141-2156. doi:10.1093/molbev/msn160 . 
  9. ^ Schweizer, M.; Seehausen O, Güntert M and Hertwig ST (2009). "The evolutionary diversification of parrots supports a taxon pulse model with multiple trans-oceanic dispersal events and local radiations". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution online. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.08.021. 
  10. ^ de Kloet, RS; de Kloet SR (2005). "The evolution of the spindlin gene in birds: Sequence analysis of an intron of the spindlin W and Z gene reveals four major divisions of the Psittaciformes". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36: 706-721. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.03.013. 
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