Your E-mail:
Will your bird get a holiday gift this year?


Printer Friendly

Help From Aviculturists Required

Ornothologists now use DNA-sampling to ascertain relationships among the various bird species.

by Ian Hinze

Ornothologists now use DNA-sampling to ascertain relationships among the various bird species. Prof. Robert Payne of the University of Michigan has been able to prove that all firefinches (Lagonosticta) are closely related. The brown twinspot (Clytospiza monteiri) comes next to fire finches, but the other twinspots form two groups: (1) Peters', Dybowski's and Dusky, and (2) Green. Neither group has the fire finch as its closest relative, although species in group (1) are not too distant.

Samples of most Estrildids have now been sequenced, but Prof. Payne is most interested to undertake DNA-testing on a number of species that have, thus far, eluded him. All that is required is a feather picked from each bird. Large feathers are best (one per bird), and each should be placed in a separate envelope along with details of the species the feather was taken from. Grown feathers are better than growing ones. (It is strongly advised not to pull a growing feather as this can cause bleeding, which is bad for both the bird and the sample.)

Feather samples should be sent to: Prof. Robert Payne, Curator of Birds and Professor of Zoology, 3019 Museum of Zoology, 1109 Geddes Avenue, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079, USA.

The list of birds from which feathers are required are:
Emblema (Stagonopleura) oculata: red-eared firetail
Erythrura cyaneovirens: red-headed parrot-finch
Erythrura kleinschmidtii: pink-billed parrot-finch
Erythrura viridifacies: green-faced parrot-finch
Estrilda nigricolis: black-faced waxbill
Estrilda rufibarba : Arabian waxbill
Estrilda kandti: Kandt's waxbill (sometimes listed as a subspecies of the black-headed waxbill)
Estrilda poliopareia: Anambra waxbill
Estrilda (p.) ochrogaster: Abyssinian waxbill
Lonchura (c.) caniceps: grey-headed mannikin
L. (c.) vana: grey-banded mannikin
L. ferruginosa: black-throated mannikin
L. (f.) forbesi: New Ireland munia
L. (f.) nigerrima: New Hanover munia
L. (f.) hunsteini: mottled/Hunstein's mannikin
L. kelaarti: rufous-bellied black-throated/hill munia
L. leucogastroides: Javan munia
L. melaena: thick-billed/Bismarck munia
L. montana: snow mountain mannikin
L. monticola: alpine mannikin
L. stygia: black mannikin
Oreostruthus fuliginosus: crimson-sided/mountain finch
Palaudipasser locustella uellensis: Northern locust finch
Parmoptila jamesoni: Jameson's ant-pecker
Pholidornis rushiae: tit-hylia

Prof. Payne, however, has an additional line of proof besides DNA — that of audiospectrograms. Lavender waxbills (Estrilda caerulescens), for example, are most closely related to black-cheeked waxbills (E. erythronotos). Not only do they have similar mtDNA, but their calls are similar too.

A few major surprises are that the swee waxbills, E. melanotis and E. quartinia, are not very close to other Estrilda waxbills at all and have now been placed in the genus Coccopygia. They are believed to be closer to the olive backs (Nesocharis). There's also only one species of quail finch.

3-4-2004


 Give us your opinion on
Help From Aviculturists Required

Submit a Comment or
Join Club
Earn 1,000 points! What's this?
Top Products
d
BirdChannel Home | Bird Breeders | Bird Species | Related Links | BirdChannel Editors and Contributors
DOGS | CATS | FISH | HORSE | REPTILES | SMALL ANIMALS | HOBBY FARMS
                       | Birds USA |  
Disclaimer: The posts and threads recorded in our message boards do not reflect the opinions of nor are endorsed by I-5 Publishing, LLC nor any of its employees. We are not responsible for the content of these posts and threads.
Copyright ©  I-5 Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.
Our Privacy Policy has changed. Your California Privacy Right/Privacy Policy
Advertise With Us  |  SiteMap  |  Contact Us  |  Terms of Use  |  Community Guidelines | Bird eClub Terms
BirdChannel Newsletter Signup | Link to Us | About Us | More Great I-5 Sites
Gold Standard

*Content generated by our loyal visitors, which includes comments and club postings, is free of constraints from our editors’ red pens, and therefore not governed by I-5 Publishing, LLC’s Gold Standard Quality Content, but instead allowed to follow the free form expression necessary for quick, inspired and spontaneous communication.

Become a fan of BirdChannel on Facebook Follow BirdChannel on Twitter
Get social and connect with BirdChannel.



Hi my name's RaneBeau ('>

Visit the Photo Gallery to
cast your vote!
Information on over 200 critter species