Evolution and systematics

The paradise-flycatchers and monarchs are the most impressive and colorful of the flycatcher-like birds. Formerly considered to be part of the 'true' flycatchers (Muscicapidae), they have now been separated into a family of their own, though DNA-DNA hybridization studies suggest that they are closely related to the crows (Corvidae). The Monarchi-dae have differently shaped jaw muscles from the true flycatchers and no 'turdine thumb' on the syrinx. They are probably of Asian origin, but have spread several thousand miles southwest and southeast and are closely related to the fantails of Asia, Australasia, and Polynesia. Within the order, the Elminia and Erythrocercus genera have different anatomical characteristics, and future studies may suggest that further reclassification is necessary.

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