Evolution and systematics

The palmchat (Dulus dominicus) is the only member of its genus and family. Todies and palmchats are the only two endemic bird families of the Caribbean. Because of the palm-chat's evolutionary and taxonomic importance, the Dominican Republic (which occupies two thirds of the island of Hispan-iola) has declared it the national bird.

The palmchat was first described in 1766 by Linnaeus as a member of the genus Tanagra. In 1847 Haurtlaub classified it under its present genus, Dulus.

Surprisingly, palmchats are unrelated to any other His-paniolan bird species, but are distantly related to North American waxwings (Bombycillidae), with whom they share similar skeletal structures.

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