Short-legged ground roller
|Short-legged ground roller|
The short-legged ground roller (Brachypteracias leptosomus) is a species of bird in the ground roller family Brachypteraciidae. It is the only living species in the genus Brachypteracias and is endemic to Madagascar. It is threatened by habitat loss.
Taxonomy and systematics
The short-legged ground roller is the only extant species in the genus Brachypteracias, although a fossil species, Brachypteracias langrandi, has been described. The short-legged ground roller is more arboreal than other ground rollers, and may represent the ancestral form of the family. The genus Brachypteracias once included the scaly ground roller, but a 2001 study of the DNA of the family found that the two are not closely related. The same study found that the short-legged ground roller is basal in the family.
Distribution and habitat
The short-legged ground roller is endemic to Madagascar, where is occurs in the northern part of the island through the eastern coast to the southern end of the island. Its natural habitat is humid tropical moist lowland forests, from sea-level to 1,500 m (4,900 ft), although it is commoner at lower altitudes. It is almost exclusively found in mature closed forest with large trees but can also be found on slopes with numerous saplings, and is rare in disturbed forest.
The short-legged ground roller has a large head and bill, a puffy throat. It is the largest forest ground roller, and is stouter than the other species (except for the scaly ground roller). It measures 30 to 38 cm (12–15 in) in length and weighs 154–217 g (5.4–7.7 oz). Where sexed individuals have been weighed the males were heavier, but the sample size was small. Females are smaller in other body measurements, for example wing chord length, which is 138 to 143 mm (5.4–5.6 in) in females compared to 140 to 152 mm (5.5–6.0 in) in males. As the name suggests the legs are short for the family, but contrary to its generic name the wings are the longest in the family, making this the most arboreal species, but is still not a strong flier.
The short-legged ground roller is a secretive species that has been little studied. Everything that is known about the behaviour of the species has come from a single systematic study of a single pair in Masoala National Park and from incidental observations of other birds.
Status and conservation
The short-legged ground roller is considered to be fairly common in its natural habitat. Nevertheless it is considered to be threatened with extinction due to the rapid loss of its habitat to slash and burn for subsistence agriculture. Its habitat is also considered to be threatened by climate change. Modelling of habitat change due to climate change predicts that the species may lose up to 62% of its current habitat. The species is also hunted.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Brachypteracias leptosomus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Goodman, Steven M. (January 2000). "A description of a new species of (Family Brachypteraciidae) from the Holocene of Madagascar". Ostrich. 71 (1–2): 318–322. doi:10.1080/00306525.2000.9639941.
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- Kirchman, Jeremy J.; Hackett, Shannon J.; Goodman, Steven M.; Bates, John M. (2001). "Phylogeny and Systematics of Ground Rollers (Brachypteraciidae) of Madagascar". The Auk. 118 (4): 849. doi:10.1642/0004-8038(2001)118[0849:PASOGR]2.0.CO;2.
- Jobling, J. A. (2017). Brachypteracias in Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology. In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2017). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from www.hbw.com).
- Jobling, J. A. (2017). leptosomus in Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology. In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2017). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from www.hbw.com).
- Langrand, O. & Kirwan, G.M. (2017). Short-legged Ground-roller (Brachypteracias leptosomus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/55865 on 20 March 2017).
- Thorstrom, Russell; Lind, Johan (3 April 2008). "First nest description, breeding, ranging and foraging behaviour of the Short-legged Ground-Roller Brachypteracias leptosomus in Madagascar". Ibis. 141 (4): 569–576. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1999.tb07364.x.
- Andriamasimanana, Rado H.; Cameron, Alison (April 2013). "Predicting the impacts of climate change on the distribution of threatened forest-restricted birds in Madagascar". Ecology and Evolution. 3 (4): 763–769. doi:10.1002/ece3.497.