Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

Classification

See order Charadriiformes for note on classification
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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

View Charadriidae Tree

Relationships after Baker et al. 2007.

The genus Pluvialis (golden plovers), though it resembles other plovers and is traditionally included in the family, must be removed if Charadriidae is to be monophyletic. Alternatively, a version of Charadriidae including Pluvialis would also have to include Recurvirostridae (stilts and avocets), Haematopodidae (oystercatchers), and Ibidorhynchidae (ibisbill), all of which are apparently just oddly evolved plovers.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records: 475
Specimens with Sequences: 414
Specimens with Barcodes: 411
Species: 51
Species With Barcodes: 48
Public Records: 330
Public Species: 48
Public BINs: 51
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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Barcode data

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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Wikipedia

Charadriidae

The bird family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings, about 64 to 66 species in all.

Contents

Description

They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings, but most species of lapwing may have more rounded wings. Their bill are usually straight (except for the Wrybill) and short, their toes are short, hind toe could be reduced or absent, depending on species. Most Charadriidae also have relatively short tails, the Killdeer is the exception. In most genera, the sexes are similar, very little sexual dimorphism occurs between sexes. They range in size from the Collared Plover, at 26 grams and 14 cm (5.5 inches), to the Masked Lapwing, at 368 grams (13 oz) and 35 cm (14 inches).

Distribution and habitat

They are distributed through open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions: the Inland Dotterel, for example, prefers stony ground in the deserts of central and western Australia.[1]

Behaviour and ecology

They hunt by sight, rather than by feel as longer-billed waders like snipe do. Foods eaten include aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates such as insects, worms, molluscs and crustaceans depending on habitat, and are usually obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups. They also feed on plant material.

Breeding

While breeding, they defend their territories with highly visible aerial displays.[1] Charadriidae are protective over their eggs and offspring. The parents protect their young by uttering an alarm call, performing distraction display and they may even attack the predator or intruder. Both parents take care of their offspring. The chicks are precocial; their parents do not feed them. Most species are monogamous, while less are polygamous.

Most members of the family are known as plovers, lapwings or dotterels. These were rather vague terms which were not applied with any great consistency in the past. In general, larger species have often been called lapwings, smaller species plovers or dotterels and there are in fact two clear taxonomic sub-groups: most lapwings belong to the subfamily Vanellinae, most plovers and dotterels to Charadriinae.

The trend in recent years has been to rationalise the common names of the Charadriidae. For example, the large and very common Australian bird traditionally known as the ‘Spur-winged Plover’, is now the Masked Lapwing; the former ‘Sociable Plover’ is now the Sociable Lapwing.

References

  1. ^ a b Harrison, Colin J.O. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph. ed. Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 105. ISBN 1-85391-186-0.
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