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Ecology

Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Animal / parasite / ectoparasite
imago of Crataerina pallida ectoparasitises mainly adult of Passeriformes
Other: minor host/prey

Animal / parasite / ectoparasite
imago of Ornithomya avicularia ectoparasitises Passeriformes

Animal / parasite / ectoparasite
imago of Ornithomya fringillina ectoparasitises Passeriformes

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Known predators

Passeriformes (song birds) is prey of:
Circus
Asio

Based on studies in:
USA: California (Marine)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • R. F. Johnston, Predation by short-eared owls on a Salicornia salt marsh, Wilson Bull. 68(2):91-102, from p. 99 (1956).
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Known prey organisms

Passeriformes (song birds) preys on:
Plantae
invertebrates
marine invertebrates
Insecta
Prokelisia
Orchelimum
Araneae

Based on studies in:
USA: California (Marine)
USA: Massachusetts, Cape Ann (Marine)
USA: Georgia (Marine)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • J. M. Teal, Energy flow in the salt marsh ecosystem of Georgia, Ecology 43(4):614-624, from p. 616 (1962).
  • R. F. Johnston, Predation by short-eared owls on a Salicornia salt marsh, Wilson Bull. 68(2):91-102, from p. 99 (1956).
  • R. W. Dexter, The marine communities of a tidal inlet at Cape Ann, Massachusetts: a study in bio-ecology, Ecol. Monogr. 17:263-294, from p. 287 (1947).
  • R. W. Dexter, The marine communities of a tidal inlet at Cape Ann, Massachusetts: a study in bio-ecology, Ecol. Monogr. 17:263-294, from p. 288 (1947).
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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

View Oscines Tree

Sibley and Ahlquist (1990) divided the oscines into two clades they called Corvida and Passerida. While Passerida has been confirmed (with some slight changes of membership), Barker et al. (2002) showed that Corvida was not a clade but a grade, as shown in the tree above. Thus Corvida, as a group, does not really exist.

Sibley and Ahlquist’s (1990) Menuroidea included Menuridae (lyrebirds), Atrichornithidae (scrub-birds), Climacteridae (Australasian treecreepers), and Ptilonorhynchidae (bowerbirds). More recent studies show that the latter two are sister taxa and are more closely related to other oscines than to Menuridae (Barker et al. 2002, 2004; Ericson et al. 2002a; Beresford et al. 2005; but see Ericson et al. 2002b). There are so far no sequence data available for Atrichornithidae, and it has been retained here within a reduced Menuroidea (Sibley and Ahlquist 1990). The unnamed group including Climacteridae and Ptilonorhynchidae is sister to all oscines other than Menuroidea (Barker et al. 2002, 2004; Ericson et al. 2002b; Beresford et al. 2005; but see Ericson et al. 2002b).

Meliphagoidea consists of Maluridae (fairy wrens), Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters), Pardalotidae (pardalotes), Acanthizidae (scrub-birds, thornbills), and Dasyornis (bristleheads) (Cracraft and Feinstein 2000; Barker et al. 2002, 2004) and is sister to the remaining oscines (Barker et al. 2002, 2004; Beresford et al. 2005). Relationships within Meliphagidae and Acanthizidae have been investigated by Driskell and Christidis (2004). Two more families, Pomatostomidae (Australian babblers) and Orthonychidae (logrunners) are successively more closely related to Corvoidea and Passerida (Barker et al. 2002, 2004).

Three more clades form a polytomy with Corvoidea and Passerida: Callaeatidae (New Zealand wattlebirds), Cnemophilinae (traditionally supposed to be birds of paradise, belonging to the corvoid Paradiseidae), and Melanocharitidae (most berrypeckers — one genus, Paramythia, is corvoid) (Cracraft and Feinstein 2000; Barker et al. 2002, 2004; Beresford et al. 2005).

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Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Bones maximize stiffness and strength: birds
 

The bones of birds maximize stiffness and strength relative to weight by increasing density.

         
  "The skeletons of birds are universally described as lightweight as a  result of selection for minimizing the energy required  for flight. From a functional perspective, the  weight (mass) of an animal relative to its lift-generating surfaces is a  key  determinant of the metabolic cost of flight. The  evolution of birds has been characterized by many weight-saving  adaptations  that are reflected in bone shape, many of which  strengthen and stiffen the skeleton. Although largely unstudied in  birds,  the material properties of bone tissue can also  contribute to bone strength and stiffness. In this study, I calculated  the  density of the cranium, humerus and femur in  passerine birds, rodents and bats by measuring bone mass and volume  using helium  displacement. I found that, on average, these bones  are densest in birds, followed closely by bats. As bone density  increases,  so do bone stiffness and strength. Both of these  optimization criteria are used in the design of strong and stiff, but  lightweight,  manmade airframes. By analogy, increased bone  density in birds and bats may reflect adaptations for maximizing bone  strength  and stiffness while minimizing bone mass and  volume. These data suggest that both bone shape and the material  properties of  bone tissue have played important roles in the  evolution of flight. They also reconcile the conundrum of how bird  skeletons  can appear to be thin and delicate, yet contribute  just as much to total body mass as do the skeletons of terrestrial  mammals" (Dumont 2010)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • 2010. Bird bones may be hollow, but they are also heavy. Science Daily [Internet],
  • Dumont ER. 2010. Bone density and the lightweight skeletons of birds. Proc. R. Soc. B.
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Functional adaptation

Feet stay put: perching birds
 

The feet of perching birds can perch even on weak, slippery surfaces due to the rough bumpy skin on their soles.

   
  "The Passeriformes or 'perching birds' have the typical bird foot: three toes forward and one behind, with which a bird can perch crosswise on a branch. A bird's sole is covered with rough bumpy skin, so that it can obtain purchase even on a small, weak, mobile twig which may be wet and slippery after rain." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:183)

  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Foy, Sally; Oxford Scientific Films. 1982. The Grand Design: Form and Colour in Animals. Lingfield, Surrey, U.K.: BLA Publishing Limited for J.M.Dent & Sons Ltd, Aldine House, London. 238 p.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:32438
Specimens with Sequences:25005
Specimens with Barcodes:23943
Species:3524
Species With Barcodes:3170
Public Records:17268
Public Species:2227
Public BINs:2961
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Barcode data

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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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