Flowerpecker

The flowerpeckers are a family, Dicaeidae, of passerine birds. The family comprises two genera, Prionochilus and Dicaeum, with 44 species in total. The family has sometimes been included in an enlarged sunbird family Nectariniidae. The berrypeckers of the family Melanocharitidae and the painted berrypeckers, Paramythiidae, were once lumped into this family as well. The family is distributed through tropical southern Asia and Australasia from India east to the Philippines and south to Australia. The family has a wide range occupying a wide range of environments from sea level to montane habitats. Some species, such as the mistletoebird of Australia, are recorded as being highly nomadic over parts of their range.[1]

There is little variation in structure between species in the family although many have distinctive and colourful plumage. Flowerpeckers are stout birds, with short necks and legs. These are small birds ranging from the 10-cm, 5.7-gram pygmy flowerpecker to the 18-cm, 12-gram mottled flowerpecker. Flowerpeckers have short tails, short thick curved bills and tubular tongues. The latter features reflect the importance of nectar in the diet of many species. They also have digestive systems that have evolved to deal efficiently with mistletoe berries.[1] They are often dull in colour, although in several species the males have brightly patterned crimson or glossy-black plumage.

FlowerpeckerTongue
The tongue tip is feathery in many species such as Dicaeum nigrilore[2]

Nectar forms part of the diet, although they also take berries, spiders and insects.[3] Mistletoes of 21 species in 12 genera have been found to be part of the diet of flowerpeckers, and it is thought that all species have adaptations to eat these berries and dispose of them quickly. Flowerpeckers may occur in mixed-species feeding flocks with sunbirds and white-eyes, as well as other species of flowerpecker.

The breeding biology of the flowerpeckers has been little studied.[1] In the species where data has been collected they apparently form monogamous pairs for breeding, but the division of labour varies; in scarlet-breasted flowerpeckers both parents participate in all aspects of nest building, incubation and chick rearing, but in the mistletoebird the female undertakes the first two tasks alone. Flowerpeckers lay 1–4 eggs, typically in a purse-like nest of plant fibres, suspended from a small tree or shrub. Recorded incubations times are scarce, but range from 10–12 days, with fledging occurring after 15 days.

The two genera in the family are separated on the basis of the length of the outermost primary which is elongated in Prionochilus and reduced in most Dicaeum species although D. melanoxanthum is an exception with an elongated outer primary. Molecular phylogeny studies however suggest that some Dicaeum are closer to species traditionally in Prionochilus and that generic placements across the family may need to be revised.[4]

The majority of flowerpeckers are resilient in their habits and are not threatened by human activities.[1] Five species are considered to be near threatened by the IUCN, two are listed as vulnerable and one, the Cebu flowerpecker, is listed as critically endangered. The status of the enigmatic spectacled flowerpecker is unknown. Habitat loss is the cause of the declines of these species.

Flowerpeckers
Dicaeum trigonostigma 1
Orange-bellied flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Superfamily: Passeroidea
Family: Dicaeidae
Bonaparte, 1853
Genera

Prionochilus
Dicaeum

References

  1. ^ a b c d Cheke, Robert; Mann, Clive (2008). "Family Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)". In Josep, del Hoyo; Andrew, Elliott; David, Christie (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 13, Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 350–367. ISBN 978-84-96553-45-3.
  2. ^ Rand, Austin (1961) The tongue and nest of certain flowerpeckers (aves:dicaeidae). Fiediana Zoology 39:53 scanned text
  3. ^ Lindsey, Terence (1991). Forshaw, Joseph (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 205–208. ISBN 1-85391-186-0.
  4. ^ Nyári, Árpád S.; Peterson, A. Townsend; Rice, Nathan H.; Moyle, Robert G. (2009). "Phylogenetic relationships of flowerpeckers (Aves: Dicaeidae): Novel insights into the evolution of a tropical passerine clade". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 53 (3): 613. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.06.014. PMID 19576993.

External links

Black-belted flowerpecker

The black-belted flowerpecker or visayan flowerpecker (Dicaeum haematostictum) is a species of bird in the family Dicaeidae. It is endemic to the Philippines where it is restricted to Panay, Negros and Guimaras islands. It was formerly regarded as a subspecies of the more widespread red-keeled flowerpecker (D. australe). Sometimes the name red-keeled flowerpecker is used for D. haematostictum and D. australe is then known as the red-sided flowerpecker.

Black-fronted flowerpecker

The black-fronted flowerpecker (Dicaeum igniferum) is a species of bird in the Dicaeidae family. It is endemic to the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.

Blue-cheeked flowerpecker

The blue-cheeked flowerpecker or red-chested flowerpecker (Dicaeum maugei) is a species of bird in the family Dicaeidae. It is found on the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia and East Timor. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.

Buzzing flowerpecker

The buzzing flowerpecker or white-bellied flowerpecker (Dicaeum hypoleucum) is a species of bird in the family Dicaeidae. It is endemic to the Philippines. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.

Cebu flowerpecker

The Cebu flowerpecker (Dicaeum quadricolor) is a small passerine bird. It is endemic to Cebu Island in the Philippines.

The Cebu flowerpecker is a critically endangered breeding bird. It was feared to have become extinct early in the 20th century after the clearance of most of the island's forests, but was rediscovered in 1992 in a small patch of limestone forest in the Central Cebu Protected Landscape and has since been found at three other sites, namely, the Nug-as forest of Alcoy, Mount Lantoy of Argao and the forests of Dalaguete.The rediscovery of the Cebu flowerpecker along with historical evidence of primary forest where it had been thought none remained suggests that Cebu and eight of its endemic birds were written off too early. Other possible sites for this species are in Malabuyoc. The current population is estimated to be between 85 and 105.The four-color bird reached a size 11 to 12 centimeters. The male is characterized by a large, triangular, scarlet to vermilion coat stain.The lower back is ochre with green approach. Back, neck, head and sides of neck, wings and tail are glossy blue-black. The underside is pale yellow. Chin, belly center, armpits, under tail-coverts, and under wing-coverts are white.The edges are blurred light olive.

In the female, the top is brown. The head is slightly faded olive, the back, the wing-coverts and outer webs of secondaries are strongly washed out olive. The rump is almost entirely olive-yellow. The underside is white with a faint gray olive-yellow approach that is brighter towards the center of the chest and abdomen. The under wing-coverts, shoulders and inner webs of the quills are white.

Crimson-breasted flowerpecker

The crimson-breasted flowerpecker (Prionochilus percussus) is a species of bird in the family Dicaeidae.

It is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical mangrove forest.

Flame-breasted flowerpecker

The flame-breasted flowerpecker (Dicaeum erythrothorax) is a species of bird in the Dicaeidae family. It is endemic to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It is restricted to Buru.

The Halmahera flowerpecker was until recently considered a subspecies.

Grey-sided flowerpecker

The grey-sided flowerpecker (Dicaeum celebicum) is a species of bird in the family Dicaeidae. It is endemic to Indonesia. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.

Louisiade flowerpecker

The Louisiade flowerpecker (Dicaeum nitidum) is a species of bird in the Dicaeidae family.

It is endemic to Papua New Guinea.

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

Olive-crowned flowerpecker

The olive-crowned flowerpecker (Dicaeum pectorale) is a small passerine bird in the flowerpecker family, Dicaeidae. It is found in far western New Guinea and on adjacent islands. There are two subspecies: D. p. ignotum on Gebe Island and D. p. pectorale elsewhere. The red-capped flowerpecker (D. geelvinkianum) and Louisiade flowerpecker (D. nitidum) are sometimes included in this species.

Orange-bellied flowerpecker

The orange-bellied flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma) is a species of bird in the family Dicaeidae. It is found in Bangladesh, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

Pale-billed flowerpecker

The pale-billed flowerpecker or Tickell's flowerpecker (Dicaeum erythrorhynchos) is a tiny bird that feeds on nectar and berries, found in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and western Myanmar. The bird is common especially in urban gardens with berry bearing trees. They have a rapid chipping call and the pinkish curved beak separates it from other species in the region.

Plain flowerpecker

The plain flowerpecker (Dicaeum minullum) is a species of bird in the Dicaeidae family.

It is found in the central Himalayas, through western Indonesia to Taiwan.

Pygmy flowerpecker

The pygmy flowerpecker (Dicaeum pygmaeum) is a species of bird in the Dicaeidae family.

It is endemic to the Philippines.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.

Red-keeled flowerpecker

The red-keeled flowerpecker or red-striped flowerpecker (Dicaeum australe) is a species of bird in the family Dicaeidae. It is endemic to the Philippines. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. The black-belted flowerpecker (D. haematostictum) was formerly regarded as a subspecies of this bird.

Scarlet-breasted flowerpecker

The scarlet-breasted flowerpecker (Prionochilus thoracicus) is a species of bird in the family Dicaeidae.

It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical swamps.

It is threatened by habitat loss.

Scarlet-collared flowerpecker

The scarlet-collared flowerpecker (Dicaeum retrocinctum) is a member of the family Dicaeidae, about 10 cm long and is endemic to the Philippines.

It is found only in Mindoro, usually occurring below 1000m in the canopy and edge of the forest and in open country with scattered trees. The call is a series of notes similar to striking two stones together plus a high-pitched `zeet zeet zeet`. It is closely related to the red-keeled flowerpecker (Dicaeum australe) but has a longer, more slender curved beak.

Wakatobi flowerpecker

The Wakatobi flowerpecker (Dicaeum celebicum kuehni) is a subspecies of the grey-sided flowerpecker that is endemic to the Wakatobi Islands of Indonesia. Some authorities consider it to be a separate species as Dicaeum kuehni.

Yellow-breasted flowerpecker

The yellow-breasted flowerpecker (Prionochilus maculatus) is a species of bird in the family Dicaeidae. It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Thailand. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.

Dicaeidae (flowerpeckers)
Genus
Dicaeum
Prionochilus

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