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Ortygospiza

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: Passeri
Parvordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Passeroidea
Familia: Estrildidae
Genus: Ortygospiza
Species: O. atricollis - O. fuscocrissa - O. gabonensis - O. locustella

Name

Ortygospiza Sundevall, 1850

Ortygospiza is a genus of the estrildid finches. These birds are found in open grasslands in Africa. They are gregarious seed-eaters with short, thick, red bills. They are very terrestrial, with lark-like feet and claws.

Systematics

1-4 species are usually recognized:

* Red-billed Quailfinch or Black-chinned Quailfinch, Ortygospiza gabonensis
o Spectacled Quailfinch or White-chinned Quailfinch, Ortygospiza (gabonensis) fuscocrissa
* (West) African Quailfinch, Ortygospiza atricollis
* Locustfinch, Ortygospiza locustella - sometimes separated in Paludipasser

Two issues are contentious: First, whether the Locustfinch should be included here or given its own monotypic genus. Second, the "African Quailfinch" complex might comprise of one or three species. The two-species arrangement as found in most field guides and used by the IUCN, was recently shown to be based only on a single character (the color of the chin and throat). It is certainly erroneous, being contradicted by all other morphological, behavioral and DNA sequence data. The molecular data would support a two-species arrangement with the taxa O. atricollis and O. fuscocrissa, but this is not supported by the other data. In conclusion, either O. gabonensis should be merged back into O. atricollis, or O. fuscocrissa should be restored to species status. Gene flow in the "African Quailfinch" complex is still ongoing, and the three lineages therein either form a superspecies, or can be considered a single, wide-ranging and very variable species.[1]

Footnotes

1. ^ Payne & Sorenson (2007)


References

* Clement, Peter; Harris, Alan & Davis, John (1993): Finches and Sparrows: an identification guide. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-8017-2
* Payne, Robert B. & Sorenson, Michael D. (2007): Integrative systematics at the species level: plumage, songs and molecular phylogeny of quailfinches Ortygospiza. Bull. B.O.C. 127(1): 4-26. PDF fulltext

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