Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia

The Relationships of the Australo-Papuan Sittellas Daphoenositta as indicated by DNA-DNA hybridization

CG Sibley and JE Ahlquist

Emu 82(3) 173 - 176
Published: 1982


The taxonomic relationships of Daphoenositta were examined by comparing the single-copy DNA sequences of radio-iodine (1251) labelled DNA of the Varied Sittella D. chrysoptera with the DNAs of thirtyeight other species, representing thirty-five genera, of oscine passerine birds (Passeres). Of the taxa examined, Daphoenositta was found to be most closely related to Pachycephala, Pitohui, Colluricincla, Monarcha, and other members of a large, primarily Australo-Papuan, assemblage which also includes such morphologically diverse taxa as the birds of paradise, crows, drongos, quail-thrushes, cuckoo-shrikes, fantails, scrub-robins Drymodes, lyrebirds, scrub-birds, and bower- birds. There is no convincing evidence that the sittellas are closely related to the nuthatches Sitta, the Holarctic creepers Certhia, the Philippine creepers Rhabdornis, the Afro-Asian creeper Salpornis, the Australo-Papuan tree creepers Climacteris, the Eurasian Wallcreeper Tichodroma, or the Coral-billed Nuthatch Hypositta of Madagascar.

Some Australo-Papuan taxa that are members of a separate major assemblage are Malurus, Sericornis, Acanthiza, the honeyeaters Meliphagidae, and the Australian chats Ephthianura.


© Royal Australian Ornithologists Union 1982

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