|Black-faced grassquit (T. bicolor)|
|Family:||Thraupidae (see text)|
5, but see text
Tiaris is a genus of songbirds in the tanager family (Thraupidae), containing the bulk of the grassquits. In late 20th century sources in particular, it was very often allied to the American sparrows and placed in the Emberizidae family.
It contains the following species:
- Cuban grassquit, Tiaris canorus
- Sooty grassquit, Tiaris fuliginosus
- Dull-coloured grassquit, Tiaris obscurus
- Yellow-faced grassquit, Tiaris olivaceus
- Black-faced grassquit, Tiaris bicolor
However, these might not be monophyletic relatives, and warrant the splitting off of some species or merging this genus in another. Phylogenetic studies have hitherto failed to place this genus firmly with respect to a large number of species in the group called "Tholospiza", which typically build nests covered by a dome of material. This group consists of radiations out of Central America, into the Caribbean and into the Pacific. The latter group of these American sparrow-like tanagers are the famous Darwin's finches (including the Cocos Finch, Pinaroloxias inornata). The former group includes the Caribbean bullfinches (Loxigilla), the Saint Lucia black finch (Melanospiza richardsoni), the yellow-shouldered grassquit (Loxipasser anoxanthus) – though not the blue-black grassquit (Volatinia jacarina) –, and probably other Caribbean genera too (e.g. orangequit, Euneornis campestris and the puzzling bananaquit, Coereba flaveola).
- Burns et al. (2003), Jønsson & Fjeldså (2006), Klicka et al. (2007)
- Burns, K.J.; Hackett, S.J. & Klein, N.K. (2003): Phylogenetic relationships of Neotropical honeycreepers and the evolution of feeding morphology. J. Avian Biol. 34(4): 360-370. doi:10.1111/j.0908-8857.2003.03171.x PDF fulltext
- Jønsson, Knud A. & Fjeldså, Jon (2006): A phylogenetic supertree of oscine passerine birds (Aves: Passeri). Zool. Scripta 35(2): 149–186. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.2006.00221.x (HTML abstract)
- Klicka, J.; Burns, K. & Spellman, G.M. (2007). Defining a monophyletic Cardinalini: A molecular perspective. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 45(3): 1014-1032. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.07.006 PDF fulltext
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