Oreoicidae is a newly recognized family of small insectivorous songbirds, the Australo-Papuan bellbirds. The family contains three genera, each containing a single species. The genera are Aleadryas with the rufous-naped bellbird; Ornorectes which contains the piping bellbird; and Oreoica, which contains the crested bellbird.

Crested Bellbird (5496774920)
Crested bellbird, Oreoica gutturalis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Superfamily: Corvoidea
Family: Oreoicidae
Schodde & Christidis, 2014

Taxonomy and systematics

The three species contained in the family have been moved around between different families for fifty years, including the Colluricinclidae (shrike-thrushes), Falcunculidae (shrike-tits) and Pachycephalidae (whistlers). A series of studies of the DNA of Australian birds between 2006 and 2001 found strong support for treating the three genera as a new family, which was formally named in 2016 (although the name had first been proposed by Sibley and Ahlquist in 1985) .[1]

Within the passerines the relationship of the Australo-Papuan bellbirds to other bird families has been difficult to establish, at one time they have been thought to be close to a range of families including the cuckoo-shrikes, whistlers, false-whistlers (Rhagologidae), crested berrypeckers, butcherbirds and woodswallows, and Old World orioles.[1]

Taxonomic list

Three monotypic genera,

  • Aleadryas
  • Ornorectes
  • Oreoica


The family shares a small number of characteristics. They are small medium to medium sized songbirds with stout bodies, ranging from 16.5 to 18 cm (6.5–7.1 in) in length for the rufous-naped whistler to 25 to 26 cm (9.8–10.2 in) in the crested pitohui.[1][2][3] They also all have semi-erectile crests and shrike-like bills. The plumage is either the same between the sexes (as in the rufous-naped and piping bellbird) or slightly different (as in the crested bellbird).[1][4]

Distribution and habitat

The family occupies a range of habitats. Two species, the rufous-naped bellbird and the piping bellbird, are endemic to New Guinea, whilst the crested bellbird is endemic to Australia. The two New Guinean species are found in rainforest; lowland and hill forest in the piping bellbird, or montane forest and secondary forest in the case of the rufous-naped bellbird.[3][2] The crested bellbird occupies drier habitats in Australia including dry woodlands and scrublands.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Schodde, R.; Christidis, L. (2014). "Relicts from Tertiary Australasia: undescribed families and subfamilies of songbirds (Passeriformes) and their zoogeographic signal". Zootaxa. 3786 (5): 501–522.
  2. ^ a b Boles, W. (2017). Rufous-naped Whistler (Aleadryas rufinucha). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/59331 on 17 March 2017).
  3. ^ a b Boles, W. (2017). Crested Pitohui (Pitohui cristatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/59378 on 17 March 2017).
  4. ^ a b Boles, W. (2017). Crested Bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/59330 on 17 March 2017).
Bell miner

The bell miner (Manorina melanophrys), commonly known as the bellbird, is a colonial honeyeater endemic to southeastern Australia. The common name refers to their bell-like call. "Miner" is an old alternative spelling of the word "myna" and is shared with other members of the genus Manorina. The birds feed almost exclusively on the dome-like coverings, referred to as "bell lerps", of certain psyllid bugs that feed on eucalyptus sap from the leaves. The psyllids make these bell-lerps from their own honeydew secretions in order to protect themselves from predators and the environment.

Bell miners live in large, complex social groups. Within each group there are subgroups consisting of several breeding pairs, but also including a number of birds who are not currently breeding. The nonbreeders help in providing food for the young in all the nests in the subgroup, even though they are not necessarily closely related to them. The birds defend their colony area communally aggressively, excluding most other passerine species. They do this in order to protect their territory from other insect-eating birds that would eat the bell lerps on which they feed. Whenever the local forests die back due to increased lerp psyllid infestations, bell miners undergo a population boom.


Corvoidea is a superfamily of birds in the order of Passeriformes. It contains the following families:

Paramythiidae: tit berrypecker and crested berrypeckers

Psophodidae: whipbirds, jewel-babblers and quail-thrushes

Platysteiridae: wattle-eyes and batiss

Tephrodornithidae: woodshrikes and allies

Prionopidae: helmetshrikes

Malaconotidae: bush-shrikes

Machaerirynchidae: boatbills

Vangidae: vangas

Pityriaseidae: Bornean bristlehead

Artamidae: butcherbirds, currawongs and Australian magpie (formerly in Cracticidae)

Rhagologidae: mottled whistler

Aegithinidae: ioras

Campephagidae: cuckooshrikes and trillers

Mohouidae: whiteheads

Neosittidae: sittellas

Eulacestomidae: ploughbill

Oreoicidae: Australo-Papuan bellbirds

Pachycephalidae: whistlers, shrike-thrushes, pitohuis and allies

Laniidae: shrikes

Vireonidae: vireos

Oriolidae: orioles, figbirds and †piopio (formerly Turnagridae)

Dicruridae: drongos

Rhipiduridae: fantails

Monarchidae: monarchs and allies

Corvidae: crows, magpies, and jays

Corcoracidae: white-winged chough and apostlebird

Melampittidae: melampittas

Ifritidae: ifritabirds

Paradisaeidae: birds of paradise

Crested bellbird

The crested bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis) is a medium-sized passerine bird in the family Oreoicidae. It is native to drier parts of Australia where its typical habitats are acacia scrublands, eucalypt woodlands, spinifex and saltbush plains and, dunes. The male is about 20 cm (8 in) long and has a grey head, a black crest and breast, and a grey or olive brown body. The female and juvenile are similar but the colours are more muted and the black breast is lacking. The distinctive call is a high pitched bell-like sound, audible at some distance. Sometimes a pair of birds duet.

The crested bellbird feeds on seeds and small invertebrates, foraging on the ground or in low bushes. The deep, cup-shaped nest is usually within a couple of metres of the ground, built in the fork of a branch or in a crevice in a stump. It is made from small twigs and bark and lined with finer material. Up to four eggs are laid and these are incubated by both parents. Overall this bird is quite common, but in some regions, such as Victoria, it is threatened by fragmentation of its habitat

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.

List of birds

This page lists living orders and families of birds. The links below should then lead to family accounts and hence to individual species.

The passerines (perching birds) alone account for well over 5000 species. In total there are about 10,000 species of birds described worldwide, though one estimate of the real number places it at almost twice that.

Taxonomy is very fluid in the age of DNA analysis, so comments are made where appropriate, and all numbers are approximate. In particular see Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy for a very different classification.

List of birds of Australia

This is a list of the wild birds found in Australia including its outlying islands and territories, but excluding the Australian Antarctic Territory. The outlying islands covered include: Christmas, Cocos (Keeling), Ashmore, Torres Strait, Coral Sea, Lord Howe, Norfolk, Macquarie and Heard/McDonald. The list includes introduced species, common vagrants and recently extinct species. It excludes extirpated introductions, some very rare vagrants (seen once) and species only present in captivity. Nine hundred and fifty extant and extinct species are listed.

There have been three comprehensive accounts: the first was John Goulds Birds of Australia, the second Gregory Mathews, and third was the Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds (1990-2006).

The taxonomy followed is from Christidis and Boles, 2008. Their system has been developed over nearly two decades and has strong local support, but deviates in important ways from more generally accepted schemes.

List of birds of Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica

This list is based on the Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds list, May 2002 update, with the doubtfuls omitted. It includes the birds of Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica, and the surrounding ocean and subantarctic islands.

Australian call-ups are based on the List of Australian birds.

New Zealand call-ups are based on the List of New Zealand birds.

List of birds of Papua New Guinea

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Papua New Guinea. The avifauna of Papua New Guinea include a total of 781 species, of which 76 are endemic, one has been introduced by humans and eighteen are rare or accidental. Twenty-eight species are globally threatened.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 6th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for Papua New Guinea.

The following tags have been used to highlight several categories. The commonly occurring native species do not fall into any of these categories.

(A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Papua New Guinea

(E) Endemic - a species that is native only to Papua New Guinea

(I) Introduced - a species introduced to Papua New Guinea as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions

List of birds of Queensland

Queensland is the second-largest state in Australia but has the greatest biodiversity, with over 630 species of bird recorded (more than closest-rivals New South Wales or West Australia with both around 550). The sum total for continental Australia (including Tasmania) is currently estimated to be 815 species.

The high avian biodiversity is probably a reflection of the wide variety of habitats, from deserts to rainforests and mangroves to mulga, which make Queensland a birders paradise.

This list is based on the 1996 classification by Sibley and Monroe (though there has been a recent (2008) extensive revision of Australian birds by Christidis and Boles ) which has resulted in some lumping and splitting.

Those species labelled "endemic" are endemic to mainland Australia. There are 22 species that are only found in Queensland, these are annotated with an asterisk ( * ).

List of birds of South Australia

This is a list of birds of South Australia, a state within Australia.

List of birds of Western Australia

The following is a list of birds sighted in Western Australia.


The Pachycephalidae are a family of bird species that includes the whistlers, shrikethrushes, and three of the pitohuis, and is part of the ancient Australo-Papuan radiation of songbirds. Its members range from small to medium in size, and occupy most of Australasia. Australia and New Guinea are the centre of their diversity and, in the case of the whistlers, the South Pacific islands as far as Tonga and Samoa and parts of Asia as far as India. The exact delimitation of boundaries of the family are uncertain, and one species, the golden whistler, has been the subject of intense taxonomic scrutiny in recent years, with multiple subspecies and species-level revisions.


A passerine is any bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or – less accurately – as songbirds, passerines are distinguished from other orders of birds by the arrangement of their toes (three pointing forward and one back), which facilitates perching, amongst other features specific to their evolutionary history in Australaves.

With more than 110 families and some 6,409 identified species, Passeriformes is the largest order of birds and among the most diverse orders of terrestrial vertebrates. Passerines are divided

into three clades, Acanthisitti (New Zealand wrens), Tyranni (suboscines) and Passeri (oscine).The passerines contain several groups of brood parasites such as the viduas, cuckoo-finches, and the cowbirds. Most passerines are omnivorous, while the shrikes are carnivorous.

The terms "passerine" and "Passeriformes" are derived from the scientific name of the house sparrow, Passer domesticus, and ultimately from the Latin term passer, which refers to sparrows and similar small birds.

Piping bellbird

The piping bellbird (Ornorectes cristatus), or crested pitohui, is a species of bird in the family Oreoicidae. It was previously placed in the family Pachycephalidae.

It is found on New Guinea.

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest.


The pitohuis are bird species endemic to New Guinea. The onomatopoeic name is thought to be derived from that used by New Guineans from near Dorey (Manokwari) but it is also used as the name of a genus Pitohui which was established by the French naturalist René Lesson in 1831. The unitalicized common name however refers to perching birds that belong to several genera which belong to multiple bird families. The genera include Ornorectes, Melanorectes, and Pseudorectes apart from Pitohui.

Pitohui (genus)

Pitohui is a genus of birds endemic to New Guinea. The birds formerly lumped together as pitohuis were found by a 2008 study that examined their evolutionary history on the basis of the genetic sequences to have included birds that were quite unrelated to each other. They have since been separated into other genera.

Rufous-naped bellbird

The rufous-naped bellbird (Aleadryas rufinucha), or rufous-naped whistler, is a species of bird in the family Oreoicidae. It is assigned to the monotypic genus Aleadryas. It is found on New Guinea, where its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.


A songbird is a bird belonging to the clade Passeri of the perching birds (Passeriformes). Another name that is sometimes seen as a scientific or vernacular name is Oscines, from Latin oscen, "a songbird". This group contains 5000 or so species found all over the world, in which the vocal organ typically is developed in such a way as to produce a diverse and elaborate bird song.

Songbirds form one of the two major lineages of extant perching birds, the other being the Tyranni, which are most diverse in the Neotropics and absent from many parts of the world. The Tyranni have a simpler syrinx musculature, and while their vocalizations are often just as complex and striking as those of songbirds, they are altogether more mechanical sounding. There is a third perching bird lineage, the Acanthisitti from New Zealand, of which only two species remain alive today.

Some evidence suggests that songbirds evolved 50 million years ago in the part of Gondwana that later became India, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and Antarctica, before spreading around the world.

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