Hellenica World


Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Tyranni
Infraordo: Tyrannides
Parvordo: Tyrannida
Familia: Tyrannidae
Genus: Muscisaxicola
Species: M. albifrons - M. albilora - M. alpinus - M. capistratus - M. cinereus - M. flavinucha - M. fluviatilis - M. frontalis - M. griseus - M. juninensis - M. maclovianus - M. maculirostris - M. rufivertex


Muscisaxicola Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1837


Magasin de Zoologie 7 cl.2 p.65

The ground-tyrants (Muscisaxicola) are a genus of passerine birds belonging to the tyrant flycatcher family Tyrannidae. There are about 13 different species. They are ground-dwelling birds which inhabit open country in South America, particularly the Andes and Patagonia. Several southern species are migratory, moving northward for the winter. Ground-tyrants feed on insects and other invertebrates, mainly by picking them from the ground.

A flight display is performed during the breeding season. The nest is a cup of twigs or grass which, in most species, is built in a burrow, crevice or under rocks.

Ground-tyrants are fairly small (13-20 cm in length) with longish legs, a slender bill and an erect posture. The plumage is dull and mainly grey or brown with paler underparts. The head is variably patterned with several species having rufous patches on the crown or white between the bill and eye. The birds have simple calls and are often silent.

Systematics and taxonomy

A study of mitochondrial DNA by Chesser (2000) has shown that the Little Ground-tyrant (M. fluviatilis) is highly divergent and not closely related to the other ground-tyrants. All the remaining species are related and form a monophyletic group, although the Spot-billed Ground-tyrant (M. maculirostris) is somewhat divergent from the others. The Little and Spot-billed Ground-tyrants are smaller and browner than the other species and the Little Ground-tyrant also differs in its habitat, occurring near rivers in Amazonia.[1]

The Plain-capped Ground-tyrant (M. alpinus) and Taczanowski's Ground-tyrant (M. griseus) were previously treated as a single species but are genetically divergent with the Plain-capped Ground-tyrant belonging to a southern Andean and Patagonian clade within the genus and Taczanowski's Ground-tyrant belonging to a central Andean clade.[1] The name Plain-capped Ground-tyrant is used by some authors to refer to M. griseus with Paramo Ground-tyrant used for M. alpinus.

The genus name Muscisaxicola is masculine, therefore the species names griseus, cinereus, maclovianus, alpinus and capistratus are correct rather than grisea, cinerea, macloviana, alpina and capistrata. The names flavinucha and albilora are invariable.[2]

Species list

* White-fronted Ground-tyrant, Muscisaxicola albifrons
* White-browed Ground-tyrant, Muscisaxicola albilora
* Paramo Ground-tyrant, Muscisaxicola alpinus
* Cinnamon-bellied Ground-tyrant, Muscisaxicola capistratus
* Cinereous Ground-tyrant, Muscisaxicola cinereus
* Ochre-naped Ground-tyrant, Muscisaxicola flavinucha
* Little Ground-tyrant, Muscisaxicola fluviatilis
* Black-fronted Ground-tyrant, Muscisaxicola frontalis
* Plain-capped Ground-tyrant, Muscisaxicola griseus
* Puna Ground-tyrant, Muscisaxicola juninensis
* Dark-faced Ground-tyrant, Muscisaxicola maclovianus
* Spot-billed Ground-tyrant, Muscisaxicola maculirostris
* Rufous-naped Ground-tyrant, Muscisaxicola rufivertex


* Chesser, R. Terry (2000) Evolution in the High Andes: the Phylogenetics of Muscisaxicola Ground-Tyrants, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 15 (3): 369-380
* Jaramillo, Alvaro; Burke, Peter & Beadle, David (2003) Field Guide to the Birds of Chile, Christopher Helm, London
* South American Classification Committee (2007) A classification of the bird species of South America, part 8. Retrieved 17/07/07.
* Vuilleumier, François (1994) Nesting, behavior, distribution and speciation of Patagonian and Andean ground tyrants (Myiotheretes, Xolmis, Neoxolmis, Agriornis and Muscisaxicola), Ornitologia Neotropical, 5: 1-55


1. ^ a b Chesser (2000)
2. ^ SACC (2007), citing David N. & Gosselin M. (2002) The grammatical gender of avian genera. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club, 122: 257-282.

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