Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimen Records: 1546
Specimens with Sequences: 1478
Specimens with Barcodes: 1397
Species With Barcodes: 133
Public Records: 910
Public Species: 100
Public BINs: 115
Redstarts are a group of small Old World birds. They were formerly classified in the thrush family (Turdidae), but are now known to be part of the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae. They are currently treated in four genera, the true redstarts Phoenicurus, the closely related genera Chaimarrornis and Rhyacornis, and the less closely related genus Hodgsonius.
These are insectivorous ground feeding birds, most of which have the red tail which gives the group its name; "start" is the modern English reflex of Middle English stert, Old English steort, tail of an animal. Most species are migratory, with northern species being long-distance migrants and more southerly species often being altitudinal migrants breeding at high altitude and moving lower down in winter.
They are small insectivores, the males mostly brightly coloured in various combinations of red, blue, white, and black, the females light brown with a red tail. Recent genetic studies have shown that the genus Phoenicurus is not monophyletic, but may be made so by the inclusion of Chaimarrornis and Rhyacornis within Phoenicurus; this conclusion is yet to be taken up by the International Ornithological Congress.
The New World redstarts in the genera Setophaga and Myioborus are not closely related; they are New World warblers in the family Parulidae. Members of the latter genus, with extensive white and no red in their tails, are now more often called "whitestarts".
- Genus Phoenicurus
- Przevalski's redstart (Phoenicurus alaschanicus)
- Eversmann's redstart (Phoenicurus erythronotus)
- Blue-capped redstart (Phoenicurus caeruleocephala)
- Black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
- Common redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
- Hodgson's redstart (Phoenicurus hodgsoni)
- White-throated redstart (Phoenicurus schisticeps)
- Daurian redstart (Phoenicurus auroreus)
- Moussier's redstart (Phoenicurus moussieri)
- Güldenstädt's redstart (Phoenicurus erythrogastrus)
- Blue-fronted redstart (Phoenicurus frontalis)
- Hoyo, J. del, et al., eds. (2005). Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 10. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 768–776. ISBN 84-87334-72-5.
- Sangster, G., Alström, P., Forsmark, E., & Olsson, U. (2010). Multi-locus phylogenetic analysis of Old World chats and flycatchers reveals extensive paraphyly at family, subfamily and genus level (Aves: Muscicapidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57: 380–392 Full text
- IOC World Bird List Family Muscicapidae
- IOC World Bird List Family Parulidae
Old World flycatcher
The Old World flycatchers are a large family, the Muscicapidae, of small passerine birds mostly restricted to the Old World (Europe, Africa and Asia). These are mainly small arboreal insectivores, many of which, as the name implies, take their prey on the wing.
The appearance of these birds is very varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls. They are small to medium birds, ranging from 9 to 22 cm in length. Many species are dull brown in colour, but the plumage of some can be much brighter, especially in the males. Most have broad, flattened bills suited to catching insects in flight, although the few ground-foraging species typically have finer bills.
Old World flycatchers live in almost every environment with a suitable supply of trees, from dense forest to open scrub, and even the montane woodland of the Himalayas. The more northerly species migrate south in winter, ensuring a continuous diet of insects.
Depending on the species, their nests are either well-constructed cups placed in a tree or cliff ledge, or simply lining in a pre-existing tree hole. The hole-nesting species tend to lay larger clutches, with an average of eight eggs, rather than just two to five.
Taxonomy and systematics
The division of Muscicapidae into two subfamilies may be artificial. Some genera in one subfamily are closer to members of the other and vice versa. As the exact relationships of the family's members are worked out, the internal taxonomic structure of the family may need to be radically revised.
Muscicapidae in taxonomic order
This list of muscicapid species is presented in taxonomic order:
- Subfamily Muscicapinae - typical flycatchers
- Bradornis - four species
- Melaenornis - seven species
- Fraseria - two species.
- Rhinomyias - 11 species
- Muscicapa - 24 species
- Myioparus - two species.
- Ficedula - about 30 species (apparently saxicoline, related to Tarsiger)
- Anthipes - two species
- Cyanoptila - two species
- Eumyias - five species
- Niltava - six species
- Subfamily Saxicolinae - chats and allies (formerly in Turdidae)
- Tarsiger, bush-robins (five species)
- Luscinia (11 species) - paraphyletic
- Erithacus (three species) - paraphyletic
- Heinrichia - great shortwing
- Brachypteryx (four species)
- Leonardina - Bagabo babbler
- Irania, white-throated robin
- Saxicola, bushchats and stonechats (14 species)
- Monticola: rock thrushes (13 species, includes Pseudocossyphus)
- Pogonocichla, white-starred robin
- Swynnertonia, Swynnerton's robin
- Stiphrornis, forest robins (one to five species, depending on taxonomy)
- Xenocopsychus, Angola cave chat
- Saxicoloides, Indian robin
- Myiomela (four species)
- Cinclidium, blue-fronted robin
- Myophonus, whistling thrushes
- Namibornis, Herero chat
- Cercomela (nine species)
- Myrmecocichla (seven species)
- Thamnolaea, cliff chats (two species)
- Pinarornis, boulder chat
- Sheppardia, akalats (nine species)
- Cossyphicula, white-bellied robin-chat - may belong in Cossypha
- Cossypha, robin-chats (14 species)
- Cichladusa, palm thrushes (three species)
- Cercotrichas, scrub robins or bush chats (11 species) - possibly muscicapine
- Copsychus, magpie-robins or shamas (seven species) - possibly muscicapine
- Phoenicurus, true redstarts (11 species)- forms a well-supported clade with these genera placed within
- Chaimarrornis, white-capped redstart - paraphyletic with some Phoenicurus
- Rhyacornis (two species) - paraphyletic with some Phoenicurus
- Enicurus, forktails (seven species)
- Campicoloides, buff-streaked chat
- Oenanthe, wheatears (some 20 species)
- Trichixos, rufous-tailed shama
- Aberrant redstart, subfamily assignment not fully resolved
- Hodgsonius, white-bellied redstart
- del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A. & Christie D. (editors). (2006). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 84-96553-06-X.
- "Old World Flycatchers Muscicapidae". artfullbirds.com. Retrieved June 3, 2010.
- Perrins, C. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph, ed. Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 194–195. ISBN 1-85391-186-0.
- Jønsson, K.A., and J. Fjeldsa. 2006. A phylogenetic supertree of oscine passerine birds (Aves:Passeri). Zoologica Scripta 35: 149-186.
- Lei, X., Lian, Z.-M., Lei F.-M., Yin Z.-H., Zhao H.-F. 2007. Phylogeny of some Muscicapinae birds based on cyt b mitochondrial gene sequences. Acta Zoologica Sinica, 53(1):95 - 105. PDF fulltext
- Outlaw, D.C., Voelker, G. 2006. Systematics of Ficedula flycatchers (Muscicapidae): A molecular reassessment of a taxonomic enigma. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution Vol. 41:1, pp 118–126. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.05.004 PDF fulltext
- Pan, Q.-W., Lei F.-M., Yang S.-J., Yin Z.-H., Huang Y., Tai F.-D., Kristin, A. 2006. Phylogenetic analysis of some Turdinae birds based on mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences. Acta Zoologica Sinica, 52(1):87 - 98. PDF fulltext
The magpie-robins or shamas (from shama, Hindi for C. malabaricus) are medium-sized insectivorous birds (some also eat berries and other fruit) in the genera Copsychus and Trichixos. They were formerly in the thrush family Turdidae, but are more often now treated as part of the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae. The Seychelles magpie-robin is one of the most endangered birds in the world, with a population of less than 250, although this is a notable increase from just 16 in 1970.
- Madagascan magpie-robin, Copsychus albospecularis
- Oriental magpie-robin, Copsychus saularis also known as the Doel, this is the national bird of Bangladesh
- Philippine magpie-robin, Copsychus mindanensis
- White-rumped shama, Copsychus malabaricus
- White-crowned shama, Copsychus stricklandii
- Andaman shama, Copsychus albiventris
- Seychelles magpie-robin, Copsychus sechellarum
- White-browed shama, Copsychus luzoniensis
- White-vented shama, Copsychus niger
- Black shama, Copsychus cebuensis
- Rufous-tailed shama, Trichixos pyrropyga
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The robin-chats are small insectivorous birds in the genera Cossyphicula and Cossypha. They were formerly in the thrush family Turdidae, but are now more often treated as part of the Old World flycatcher Muscicapidae.
These are African woodland dwelling species, but some have become adapted to sites around human habitation.
Species in taxonomic order are:
- White-bellied robin-chat, Cossyphicula roberti
- Mountain robin-chat, Cossypha isabellae
- Archer's ground robin, Cossypha archeri
- Olive-flanked ground robin, Cossypha anomala
- Cape robin-chat, Cossypha caffra
- White-throated robin-chat, Cossypha humeralis
- Blue-shouldered robin-chat, Cossypha cyanocampter
- Grey-winged robin-chat, Cossypha polioptera
- Rüppell's robin-chat, Cossypha semirufa
- White-browed robin-chat, Cossypha heuglini
- Red-capped robin-chat, Cossypha natalensis
- Chorister robin-chat, Cossypha dichroa
- White-headed robin-chat, Cossypha heinrichi
- Snowy-crowned robin-chat, Cossypha niveicapilla
- White-crowned robin-chat, Cossypha albicapilla
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