|Striated grassbird, Megalurus palustris|
Megaluridae (Blyth, 1875)
Locustellidae is a newly recognized family of small insectivorous songbirds ("warblers"), formerly placed in the Old World warbler "wastebin" family. It contains the grass warblers, grassbirds, and the Bradypterus "bush warblers". These birds occur mainly in Eurasia, Africa, and the Australian region. The family name is sometimes given as Megaluridae, but Locustellidae has priority.
The species are smallish birds with tails that are usually long and pointed; the scientific name of the genus Megalurus in fact means "the large-tailed one" in plain English. They are less wren-like than the typical shrub-warblers (Cettia) but like these drab brownish or buffy all over. They tend to be larger and slimmer than Cettia though, and many have bold dark streaks on wings and/or underside. Most live in scrubland and frequently hunt food by clambering through thick tangled growth or pursuing it on the ground; they are perhaps the most terrestrial of the "warblers". Very unusual for Passeriformes, beginning evolution towards flightlessness is seen in some taxa.
Among the "warbler and babbler" superfamily Sylvioidea, the Locustellidae are closest to the Malagasy warblers, another newly recognized (and hitherto unnamed) family; the black-capped donacobius (Donacobius atricapillus) is an American relative derived from the same ancestral stock and not a wren as was long believed.
- Bradypterus – megalurid bush warblers
- Elaphrornis – Sri Lanka bush warbler
- Locustella – grass warblers
- Megalurus – typical grassbirds
- Schoenicola – wide-tailed grassbirds (2 species; tentatively placed here)
- Buettikoferella – buff-banded thicketbird
- Chaetornis – bristled grassbird
- Robsonius – ground warblers
- Amphilais – grey emutail
- Megalurulus – thicketbirds (5 species)
- Trichocichla – long-legged thicketbird
- Alström et al. (2006)
- del Hoyo et al. (2006)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Locustellidae.|
- Alström, P.; Ericson, P.G.P.; Olsson, U. & Sundberg, P. (2006): Phylogeny and classification of the avian superfamily Sylvioidea. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 38(2): 381–397. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.05.015 PMID 16054402 PDF fulltext
- Beresford, P.; Barker, F.K.; Ryan, P.G.; & Crowe, T.M. (2005): African endemics span the tree of songbirds (Passeri): molecular systematics of several evolutionary 'enigmas'. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 272 (1565): 849–858. doi:10.1098/rspb.2004.2997 PDF fulltext Electronic appendix[permanent dead link]
- del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew & Sargatal, Jordi (eds.) (2006): Handbook of Birds of the World (Volume 11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers). Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 84-96553-06-X
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