Evolution and systematics

Based on anatomical evidence, the closest living relatives of sturnids have been suggested to be drongos (Dicruridae), Old World orioles (Oriolidae), crows (Corvidae), or mimic thrushes (Mimidae). Based on nest structure, other scientists have suggested affinities with weavers (Ploceidae). Several biochemical analyses, including DNA-DNA hybridization studies, support a close relationship between Old World Sturnidae and New World Mimidae, and Sibley and Monroe (1990) included these two groups as tribes (Sturnini: starlings and mynahs; Mimini: mockingbirds, thrashers, catbirds) within the family Sturnidae.

The family Sturnidae, recognized here as starlings, mynas, and oxpeckers, includes about 27 genera and 111 species divided into two subfamilies, the Sturninae (starlings and my-nas: 26 genera, 109 species) and the Buphaginae (oxpeckers: 1 genus, 2 species). The number of genera and species recognized is in a great state of flux as a result of many little-known, closely related, geographically variable forms. Added to the inherent diversity in the group are divergent opinions of scientists as to relationships. New technologies and greater knowledge of the behavioral ecology of starlings promise resolution to many systematic questions.

0 0

Post a comment