Madagascan warbler

The Madagascan warblers are a newly validated family of songbirds. They were formally named Bernieridae in 2010.[1] The family currently consists of eleven species (in eight genera) of small forest birds. These birds are all endemic to Madagascar.

In 1934, the monophyly of this group was proposed by Finn Salomonsen but the traditional assignments of these birds were maintained, mistaken by their convergent evolution and the lack of dedicated research. The families to which the Malagasy warblers were formerly assigned—Pycnonotidae (bulbuls) and even more so Timaliidae (Old World babblers) and the Old World warbler—were used as "wastebin taxa", uniting unrelated lineages that were somewhat similar ecologically and morphologically.

It was not until the analysis of mtDNA cytochrome b and 16S rRNA (Cibois et al. 1999, 2001) as well as nDNA RAG-1 and RAG-2 exon (Beresford et al. 2005) sequence data, that the long-proposed grouping was accepted.

Madagascan warblers
Long-billed Greenbul
The long-billed bernieria (Bernieria madagascariensis) was formerly placed in the Pycnonotidae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Superfamily: Sylvioidea
Family: Bernieridae
Cibois, David, Gregory & Pasquet, 2010

see text

Taxonomy and systematics

The family contains 11 species divided into 8 genera.[2]

Several of these species are very poorly known and were described by science only very recently. Appert's tetraka was only described in 1972 and the cryptic warbler in 1996. The Appert's tetraka, along with the dusky tetraka are threatened by habitat loss, and are listed as vulnerable.

Most Malagasy warblers live in the humid rainforests in the east of Madagascar, though a few species are found in the drier south west of the island. They feed on insects and will form mixed-species feeding flocks of up to six species while foraging.


  1. ^ Cibois, Alice; David, Normand; Gregory, Steven M. S.; Pasquet, Eric (2010). "Bernieridae (Aves: Passeriformes): a family-group name for the Malagasy sylvioid radiation" (PDF). Zootaxa. 2554: 65–68.
  2. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2018). "Grassbirds, Donacobius, Malagasy warblers, cisticolas, allies". World Bird List Version 8.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
List of bird genera

List of bird genera concerns the chordata class of aves or birds, characterised by feathers, a beak with no teeth, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, and a high metabolic rate.


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