Amaurornis

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Amaurornis
Amaurornis phoenicurus.jpg
Amaurornis phoenicurus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Rallidae
Genus: Amaurornis
L. Reichenbach, 1853
Species

see text

Synonyms

Poliolimnas Sharpe, 1893 (but see text)

Amaurornis is a genus of birds in the family Rallidae. The name comes from the Greek amauros, meaning "dusky" or "brown" and ornis, meaning "bird".[1] The White-browed crake, type species of the defunct genus Poliolimnas, is now provisionally placed here. The species in this genus are typically called bush-hens. A monotypic subtribe, Amaurornithina, was proposed for this genus.[2]

Systematics[edit]

The New Guinea flightless rail was sometimes included in this genus, but more often held to constitute a distinct monotypic genus Megacrex. The first cladistic studies of rails, based on morphology, strongly suggested that Amaurornis as traditionally defined is not monophyletic, and that several species placed here are in fact closer to the small crakes traditionally placed in Porzana. This was subsequently confirmed by molecular data. However, these smallish species are probably not close to the large members of Porzana either, and would warrant re-establishment of the old genus Zapornia.[3][4]

Conversely, the White-browed crake – sometimes placed in Porzana too – was moved to Amaurornis when its alternate genus Poliolimnas was abolished. Regardless, it seems to be reasonably close to the striped crake, formerly also in Poliolimnas (or Porzana) but subsequently separated as Aenigmatolimnas. Their relationship with each other and the core group of Amaurornis is not yet resolved, so Aenigmatolimnas might eventually also be abolished in favor of Amaurornis, or Poliolimnas might be re-established. Furthermore, the molecular data also confirm the distinctness of Megacrex. More surprisingly, the Amaurornithina are found to contain two singular and monotypic genera, formerly held to be quite distinct from Amaurornis, namely Gallicrex (Watercock) and Himantornis (Nkulengu rail). The former was traditionally considered a more terrestrial member of the moorhens, and the latter even treated as a subfamily of its own.[5]

Species[edit]

Core group (Amaurornis proper) – bush-hens

The striped crake (Aenigmatolimnas marginalis) may also belong here.

Zapornia group, Limnocorax subgroup – black crakes

Zapornia group, unknown subgroup

References[edit]

Media related to Amaurornis at Wikimedia Commons

  1. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London, UK: Christopher Helm. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. 
  2. ^ Livezey, B.C. (1998). "A phylogenetic analysis of the Gruiformes (Aves) based on morphological characters, with an emphasis on the rails (Rallidae)". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 353 (1378): 2077–2151. doi:10.1098/rstb.1998.0353. 
  3. ^ Livezey, B.C. (1998). "A phylogenetic analysis of the Gruiformes (Aves) based on morphological characters, with an emphasis on the rails (Rallidae)". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 353 (1378): 2077–2151. doi:10.1098/rstb.1998.0353. 
  4. ^ Garcia-R et al (2014): "Deep global evolutionary radiation in birds: Diversification and trait evolution in the cosmopolitan bird family Rallidae"
  5. ^ Garcia-R et al (2014): "Deep global evolutionary radiation in birds: Diversification and trait evolution in the cosmopolitan bird family Rallidae"