Malaconotoidea Swainson, 1824
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There is a fair amount of consensus between Aggerbeck et al. (2014), Moyle et al. (2016), and Jønsson et al. (2016) concerning the Malaconotoidea. The only real issue concerns the posistion of the basal groups—boatbills (Machaerirhynchidae), butcherbirds (Artamidae), and mottled berryhunter (Rhagologidae), where there is total disagreement. Aggerbeck et al. put the boatbills sister to Aegithinidae--Vangidae clade, with the mottled berryhunter sister to the butcherbirds. Jønsson et al. (2016) and Fuchs et al. (2012b) have a basal group consisting of the boatbills, mottled berryhunter, and butcherbirds. Finally, Moyle et al. (2016) have two solutions: the one followed here, and one where the butcherbirds are basal, followed by the boatbills, the berryhunter, and the rest.
It's interesting to compare the osteological analysis of Manegold (2008) with Fuchs et al. (2012b), or to any of the other molecular analysis. It's something to keep in mind when looking at even the best hypothetical trees for fossil organisms.
It's also interesting that many of the shrike-like birds—helmet-shrikes, bush-shrikes, wood-shrikes, vanga-shrikes, butcherbirds—are included in Malaconotoidea, but the true shrikes are in Corvoidea.
The Aegithinidae--Vangidae clade represent a real breakout from Australo-Papua. The Aegithinidae range to India, the Malaconotidae and Platysteiridae are African, and the Vangidae are concentrated in Madagascar with basal groups in Africa and the Orient.
Machaerirhynchidae: Boatbills Schodde & Mason, 1999
1 genus, 2 species HBW-14
Jønsson et al. (2016) place this small Australo-Papuan group sister to the Artamidae.
- Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Machaerirhynchus flaviventer
- Black-breasted Boatbill, Machaerirhynchus nigripectus
Artamidae: Woodswallows, Butcherbirds Hartlaub, 1877
4 genera, 25 species HBW-14
This family includes the Australo-Papuan Cracticinae, and the more widespread Artaminae (woodswallows) that range from India to Australasia.
I now follow Christidis and Boles (2008) by including the woodswallows, butcherbirds, and currawongs in the same family. There is an increasing body of genetic evidence that they form a clade. Baker et al. (2004) and Moyle et al. (2004b) placed them in the same clade. The extra structure is handled by ranking the woodswallows (Artaminae), and butcherbirds and currawongs (Cracticinae) as subfamilies.
Peltops seems to be closer to the butcherbirds than the woodswallows (Jønsson et al., 2010c, 2011b; Fuchs et al., 2012b, Kearns et al., 2013), so it is included in Cracticinae. Kearns et al. (2013) found that the actual species boundaries within Peltops do not seem to match current thinking. There are two species, but the division is not as expected.
The genus Gymnorhina (Australian Magpie) has been merged with Cracticus and Strepera has been reordered based on Kearns et al. (2013). The Black Butcherbird has been split into New Guinea Black-Butcherbird, Cracticus quoyi, and Australian Black-Butcherbird, Cracticus spaldingi. Kearns et al. (2011) found substantial genetic distance between these allopatric groups of taxa.
The gray (a.k.a. white-throated) Butcherbird group continues to be controversial. Kearns et al. (2013) found little genetic distance between them and relationships that did not match the traditional allopatric species in the group. Recognition of the Silver-backed Butcherbird, Cracticus argenteus, has always been controversial, but the Black-backed Butcherbird, Cracticus mentalis, has been considered a separate species. Kearns et al. (2013) found that some argenteus grouped with mentalis and some grouped with torquatus. All were genetically close, with a common ancestor probably about 200,000 years ago. Because of this I, had lumped them with the Gray Butcherbird, Cracticus torquatus. However, that is not the end of the story. Kearns et al. (2014) increased sampling of both individuals and nuclear genes. They found significant conflict between the mitochondrial and nuclear dna. However, the species tree made sense, and current geneflow is modest, so I have returned to treating them as three species.
Artaminae: Woodswallows Hartlaub, 1877
- Ashy Woodswallow, Artamus fuscus
- White-breasted Woodswallow, Artamus leucorynchus
- Fiji Woodswallow, Artamus mentalis
- Ivory-backed Woodswallow, Artamus monachus
- Great Woodswallow, Artamus maximus
- White-backed Woodswallow, Artamus insignis
- Masked Woodswallow, Artamus personatus
- White-browed Woodswallow, Artamus superciliosus
- Black-faced Woodswallow, Artamus cinereus
- Dusky Woodswallow, Artamus cyanopterus
- Little Woodswallow, Artamus minor
Cracticinae: Butcherbirds & allies Chenu & des Murs, 1853 (1836)
- Clicking Shieldbill / Lowland Peltops, Peltops blainvillii
- Tinkling Shieldbill / Mountain Peltops, Peltops montanus
- Black Currawong, Strepera fuliginosa
- Gray Currawong, Strepera versicolor
- Pied Currawong, Strepera graculina
- Australian Magpie, Cracticus tibicen
- New Guinea Black-Butcherbird, Cracticus quoyi
- Australian Black-Butcherbird, Cracticus spaldingi
- Pied Butcherbird, Cracticus nigrogularis
- Hooded Butcherbird, Cracticus cassicus
- Tagula Butcherbird, Cracticus louisiadensis
- Black-backed Butcherbird, Cracticus mentalis
- Gray Butcherbird, Cracticus torquatus
- Silver-backed Butcherbird, Cracticus argenteus
Rhagologidae: Mottled Berryhunter Schodde and Christidis, 2014
1 genus, 1 species Not HBW Family (HBW-12:411)
This family includes one species, the Papuan endemic Mottled Berryhunter (formerly Mottled Whistler). Jønsson et al. (2016) recommended treating it as a separate family. Aggerbeck et al. (2014) considered it sister to Artamidae, with the boatbills closer to the Aegithinidae/Vangidae clade. Support for any particular position of the Mottled Berryhunter and the boatbills is weak in all studies.
- Mottled Berryhunter, Rhagologus leucostigma
Aegithinidae: Ioras G.R. Gray, 1869
1 genus, 4 species HBW-10
The ioras range from India to Borneo.
- Common Iora, Aegithina tiphia
- Marshall's Iora, Aegithina nigrolutea
- Green Iora, Aegithina viridissima
- Great Iora, Aegithina lafresnayei
Pityriaseidae: Bristlehead Mayr & Amadon, 1951
1 genus, 1 species HBW-14
Moyle et al. (2006b) was the first to find that the Bornean Bristlehead belonged to the Malaconotoidea. This arrangement with the Bristlehead sister to the Malaconotidae family is based on Fuchs et al. (2012b) and also supported by Aggerbeck et al. (2014) and Jønsson et al. (2016). The last recommend including it in Malaconotidae.
- Bornean Bristlehead, Pityriasis gymnocephala
Malaconotidae: Bush-shrikes, Puffbacks Swainson, 1824
8 genera, 49 species HBW-14
The overall structure of Malaconotidae follows Fuchs et al. (2012b). Laniarius has been reordered using Nguembock et al. (2008c). Based on their work, the Black Boubou, Laniarius nigerrimus (erlangeri is a junior synonym), and East Coast Boubou, Laniarius sublacteus, have been split from Tropical Boubou, Laniarius aethiopicus. They also found that the Bulo Burti Boubou, Laniarius liberatus, was a color morph of the Black Boubou, Laniarius nigerrimus. Finally, Tropical Boubou, Laniarius aethiopicus, is split into Tropical Boubou, Laniarius major, and Ethiopian Boubou, Laniarius aethiopicus. I would expect more changes for this genus in the future.
The current consensus seems to be that the Four-colored Bushshrike, Telophorus quadricolor, is better treated as a subspecies of the Gorgeous Bushshrike, Telophorus viridis. E.g., Dowsett, R.J., and F. Dowsett-Lemaire (1993), H&M-4 (Dickinson and Christidis, 2014), HBW Alive, Clements 6,9, IOC-5.3.
Following the recommendations of Fuchs et al. (2004), Rhodophoneus has been submerged in Telophorus, as have the undergrowth species of Chlorophoneus (dohertyi and viridis).
- Brubru, Nilaus afer
Click for Malaconotidae tree
- Fiery-breasted Bushshrike, Malaconotus cruentus
- Monteiro's Bushshrike, Malaconotus monteiri
- Gray-headed Bushshrike, Malaconotus blanchoti
- Lagden's Bushshrike, Malaconotus lagdeni
- Green-breasted Bushshrike, Malaconotus gladiator
- Uluguru Bushshrike, Malaconotus alius
- Marsh Tchagra, Bocagia minuta
- Brown-crowned Tchagra, Tchagra australis
- Three-streaked Tchagra, Tchagra jamesi
- Southern Tchagra, Tchagra tchagra
- Black-crowned Tchagra, Tchagra senegalus
- Sabine's Puffback, Dryoscopus sabini
- Pink-footed Puffback, Dryoscopus angolensis
- Red-eyed Puffback, Dryoscopus senegalensis
- Black-backed Puffback, Dryoscopus cubla
- Northern Puffback, Dryoscopus gambensis
- Pringle's Puffback, Dryoscopus pringlii
- Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Telophorus cruentus
- Bokmakierie, Telophorus zeylonus
- Doherty's Bushshrike, Telophorus dohertyi
- Gorgeous Bushshrike, Telophorus viridis
- Mount Kupe Bushshrike, Chlorophoneus kupeensis
- Many-colored Bushshrike, Chlorophoneus multicolor
- Black-fronted Bushshrike, Chlorophoneus nigrifrons
- Olive Bushshrike, Chlorophoneus olivaceus
- Bocage's Bushshrike, Chlorophoneus bocagei
- Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Chlorophoneus sulfureopectus
- Willard's Sooty Boubou, Laniarius willardi
- Crimson-breasted Shrike, Laniarius atrococcineus
- Lowland Sooty-Boubou, Laniarius leucorhynchus
- Mountain Sooty-Boubou, Laniarius poensis
- Fuelleborn's Boubou, Laniarius fuelleborni
- Red-naped Bushshrike, Laniarius ruficeps
- Black Boubou, Laniarius nigerrimus
- Slate-colored Boubou, Laniarius funebris
- Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Laniarius barbarus
- Black-headed Gonolek, Laniarius erythrogaster
- Papyrus Gonolek, Laniarius mufumbiri
- Yellow-breasted Boubou, Laniarius atroflavus
- Luehder's Bushshrike, Laniarius luehderi
- Braun's Bushshrike, Laniarius brauni
- Gabela Bushshrike, Laniarius amboimensis
- Tropical Boubou, Laniarius major
- Ethiopian Boubou, Laniarius aethiopicus
- Turati's Boubou, Laniarius turatii
- Swamp Boubou, Laniarius bicolor
- East Coast Boubou, Laniarius sublacteus
- Southern Boubou, Laniarius ferrugineus
Platysteiridae: Wattle-eyes, Batises Sundevall, 1872
5 genera, 31 species HBW-11
I had earlier followed the recommendation of Njabo et al. (2008) and merged Dyaphorophyia into Platysteira. However, further analysis by Fuchs et al. (2012b) revealed that things are not quite so simple. Their results call into question whether Batis itself is monophyletic. They found four deep clades separated by very short internodes. Two parts of Batis, the restricted Dyaphorophyia used here, and Platysteira (which includes part of the former Dyaphorophyia). Although their species tree says Batis is not monophyletic, I find that hard to believe and leave Batis as a single genus.
The overall order here is based on Njabo et al. (2008), Fuchs et al. (2012b), and Jønsson et al. (2016) together with a lot of guesswork. It is clear that some of the putative Batis superspecies involve birds that are not closely related. What is not clear is how to put them back together. Batises are very confusing! Nine species of Batis have been placed in the temporary genus "Batis".
The Western Black-headed Batis has been moved from Batis to Lanioturdus, as Lanioturdus erlangeri, based on Jønsson et al. (2016).
Njabo et al. (2008) found that the West African Wattle-eye, Platysteira hormophora, formerly considered a subspecies of Chestnut Wattle-eye, Platysteira castanea, is only distantly related to it.
- Western Black-headed Batis, Lanioturdus erlangeri
Click for Platysteiridae tree
- White-tailed Shrike, Lanioturdus torquatus
- Pygmy Batis, Batis perkeo
- Eastern Black-headed Batis, Batis minor
- Senegal Batis, Batis senegalensis
- Pririt Batis, Batis pririt
- Pale Batis, Batis soror
- Fernando Po Batis, Batis poensis
- Angolan Batis, Batis minulla
- Gabon Batis, Batis minima
- Ituri Batis, Batis ituriensis
- White-spotted Wattle-eye, Dyaphorophyia tonsa
- West African Wattle-eye, Dyaphorophyia hormophora
- Chestnut Wattle-eye, Dyaphorophyia castanea
- Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye, Platysteira concreta
- Red-cheeked Wattle-eye, Platysteira blissetti
- Black-necked Wattle-eye, Platysteira chalybea
- Jameson's Wattle-eye, Platysteira jamesoni
- Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Platysteira cyanea
- White-fronted Wattle-eye, Platysteira albifrons
- Black-throated Wattle-eye, Platysteira peltata
- Banded Wattle-eye, Platysteira laticincta
- Gray-headed Batis, Batis orientalis
- Chinspot Batis, Batis molitor
- Ruwenzori Batis, Batis diops
- Margaret's Batis, Batis margaritae
- Forest Batis, Batis mixta
- Dark Batis, Batis crypta
- Cape Batis, Batis capensis
- Reichenow's Batis, Batis reichenowi
- Woodward's Batis, Batis fratrum
Vangidae: Vangas Swainson, 1831
21 genera, 39 species HBW-14
Although H&M 4 (Dickinson and Christidis, 2014) includes the helmetshrikes (Prionopidae) and woodshrikes, shrike-flycatchers, and Flycatcher-shrikes (Tephrodornithdae) in Vangidae. IOC 5.4 continues following a more traditional treatment of this group. They use three families: Prionopidae (Helmetshrikes), Tephrodornithdae (Woodshrikes and allies), and Vangidae, with Vangidae separated from the others. They also place Megabyas and Bias in Platysteiridae. Some years ago, I had described traditional arrangements as “hard to justify on molecular grounds”. But now, thanks to Reddy et al. (2012), Jønsson et al. (2012b, 2016), and Fuchs et al. (2012b), I can say it's just wrong.
The four multi-gene analyses provide strong evidence that Vangidae, as constituted here, is monophyletic. While there remains a possibility that another vanga or two may be hiding in some other family, all the known suspects have been tested. The current arrangement of genera is based on Reddy et al. (2012) and the arrangement within some of the genera follows Jønsson et al. (2012b).
There remains uncertainty about where Philentoma fits. Jønsson et al. (2016) consider it the basal group, rather than sister to the subfamily Vanginae. Reddy et al. (2012) tried various alternative analyses, sometimes finding Philentoma in a different position.
Previously, the papers by Yamagishi et al. (2001), Fuchs et al. (2004, 2006b, 2007a), Moyle et al. (2006b), and Johansson et al. (2008a) help clarify the relation between the vangas (Vangidae), the wattle-eyes and batises (Platysteiridae), and the bush-shrikes (Malaconotidae).
Some genera have moved around, mostly in or out of Vangidae. Compared to the treatment of Dickinson et al. (2003), Vangidae gained Prionops from Malaconotidae, Megabyas and Bias from Platysteiridae, Hemipus from Campephagidae, and the uncertainly placed Tephrodornis and Philentoma. Stepping back a couple of years: Tylas was sometimes considered a bulbul (although correctly identified as a vanga by Beecher, 1953), Newtonia was thought to be a Sylviioid or Muscicapoid, and Hypositta was considered a Parid or Sittid. For those interested in examing an old taxonomy of the Passerida, I recommend taking a look at the diagram on page 324 of Beecher. Johansson et al. (2008a) show convincingly that Mystacornis is a vangid (Crossley's Vanga, formerly Crossley's Babbler).
Prionopinae: Helmetshrikes Bonaparte, 1853
- White-crested Helmetshrike, Prionops plumatus
- Gray-crested Helmetshrike, Prionops poliolophus
- Yellow-crested Helmetshrike, Prionops alberti
- Red-billed Helmetshrike, Prionops caniceps
- Rufous-bellied Helmetshrike, Prionops rufiventris
- Retz's Helmetshrike, Prionops retzii
- Gabela Helmetshrike, Prionops gabela
- Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike, Prionops scopifrons
Tephrodornithinae: Woodshrikes, Shrike-flycatchers Informal
Some internet sources claim that Tephrodornithidae is due to Moyle et al. (2006b). Although they did notice the clade, they did not use the term Tephrodornithidae, and it remains an informal name.
- African Shrike-flycatcher, Megabyas flammulatus
- Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Bias musicus
- Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Hemipus picatus
- Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Hemipus hirundinaceus
- Common Woodshrike, Tephrodornis pondicerianus
- Sri Lanka Woodshrike, Tephrodornis affinis
- Malabar Woodshrike, Tephrodornis sylvicola
- Large Woodshrike, Tephrodornis virgatus
Philentominae: Philentomas Informal
Although the Philentomas could be included in Vanginae, it makes sense to separate these southeast Asian species from the Madagascan vangas.
- Maroon-breasted Philentoma, Philentoma velata
- Rufous-winged Philentoma, Philentoma pyrhoptera
Vanginae: Vangas Swainson, 1831
- Archbold's Newtonia, Newtonia archboldi
- Common Newtonia, Newtonia brunneicauda
- Dark Newtonia, Newtonia amphichroa
- Red-tailed Newtonia, Newtonia fanovanae
- Tylas Vanga, Tylas eduardi
- Red-tailed Vanga, Calicalicus madagascariensis
- Red-shouldered Vanga, Calicalicus rufocarpalis
- Nuthatch Vanga, Hypositta corallirostris
- Crossley's Vanga, Mystacornis crossleyi
- Chabert Vanga, Leptopterus chabert
- Blue Vanga, Cyanolanius madagascarinus
- Hook-billed Vanga, Vanga curvirostris
- Ward's Flycatcher, Pseudobias wardi
- Rufous Vanga, Schetba rufa
- Helmet Vanga, Euryceros prevostii
- Bernier's Vanga, Oriolia bernieri
- Sickle-billed Vanga, Falculea palliata
- White-headed Vanga, Artamella viridis
- Pollen's Vanga, Xenopirostris polleni
- Lafresnaye's Vanga, Xenopirostris xenopirostris
- Van Dam's Vanga, Xenopirostris damii