Rail-babbler

The rail-babbler or Malaysian rail-babbler (Eupetes macrocerus) is a strange, rail-like, brown and pied ground-living bird. It is the only species in the genus Eupetes and family Eupetidae. It lives on the floor of primary forests in the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra (the nominate subspecies macrocerus), as well as Borneo (ssp. borneensis). It is distantly related to African crow-like birds. Its population has greatly decreased because much of the lowland primary forest has been cut, and secondary forests usually have too dense a bottom vegetation or do not offer enough shade to be favourable for the species. However, it is locally still common in logged forest or on hill-forest on slopes, and probably not in immediate danger of extinction. The species is poorly known and rarely seen, in no small part due to its shyness.

Rail-babbler
Malaysian Rail-Babler - Krung Ching - Thailand S4E3696 (14255100911)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Eupetidae
Bonaparte, 1850
Genus: Eupetes
Temminck, 1831
Species:
E. macrocerus
Binomial name
Eupetes macrocerus
Temminck, 1831

Taxonomy

Opinions on the correct taxonomic placement for the rail-babbler have differed. At one time, it was placed in the Old World babbler family, Timaliidae. Until recently, it had been regarded as being related to a group which included the quail-thrushes and whipbirds, and placed in the family Cinclosomatidae (previously in Orthonychidae when the members of the Cinclosomatidae were regarded as belonging with the logrunners). That relationship meant that the blue jewel-babbler of New Guinea was placed in the genus Eupetes until 1940, before being moved to Ptilorrhoa.[2]

However, Serle (1952) had pointed out a number of similarities between this species and the two species of rockfowl (Picathartes): similar proportions, the position of the nostrils, the shape of the forehead, and that of the tail.[3] In 1973 Charles Sibley dismissed the resemblance to Picathartes as "almost certainly the result of convergence", but did suggest it merited further examination.[4] Based on molecular studies, Jønsson et al. (2007) [5] argues that this is closer to the correct position for this species; the rail-babbler is most closely related to the rockjumpers, another early branch of the oscine passerines. As such, it is more correctly placed in a monotypic family, Eupetidae.[6]

Description

It is a medium-sized, fairly slender songbird, about 28 to 30 cm (11–12 in) in length, and weighing 66 to 72 g (2.3–2.5 oz).[7] It has a long thin neck, long black bill, long legs and a long tail. The plumage is mainly brown with a more reddish forehead and crown, and the foreneck, chin and throat are a rich chestnut.[8] It has a long, black eyestripe extending from the bill to the side of the neck and a broad, white supercilium above it. There is a strip of bare, blue skin on the side of the neck which can be seen when the bird calls and displays, and probably has signalling significance in a dark species living in low light on the forest floor.[9] The two sexes are the same. Juvenile birds are similar to the adult but are overall duller in colour, have a whitish throat and dark grey-brown belly.[7][10][8] The subspecies borneensis is similar to the nominate race except that the head is a richer brown colour, the upperparts, including the tail, are much more red and the underparts more rufous.[8]

It has a long, monotonous whistling call. When agitated, it gives a series of frog-like notes.[7][10]

Distribution and habitat

It is found on the Malay Peninsula in southern Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia and in the Greater Sundas on Sumatra, Borneo and the Natuna Islands.[7][10] It mainly occurs in tall, lowland forests and also in swamps and heath forest. It sometimes occurs in lower montane forests up to about 1,060 m (3,480 ft) in Peninsular Malaysia and 900 m (3,000 ft) in Sumatra and Borneo. It is believed to be declining due to loss and degradation of the forest and is classed as near threatened.[11]

Behaviour

It is a shy and secretive bird, which lives on the forest floor. It walks like a rail, jerking its head in the manner of a chicken, and it prefers to run rather than fly when disturbed.[7][10] It feeds mainly on insects, including cicadas, and beetles; spiders and worms. When feeding it will dash after prey items.[7][8]

Little is known about its breeding habits. The eggs are laid around January and February and fledgeling have been seen in June. The nest has been described as being placed near the ground on a pile of dead leaves among the stalks of a plant around 30 cm (12 in) from the ground. It is made of plant fibres and is a cup shape. The clutch is two white unmarked eggs, nothing else is known.[8]

References

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Eupetes macrocerus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Peters, James L. (1940). "A Genus for Eupetes caerulescens Temminck" (PDF). The Auk. 57 (1): 94.
  3. ^ Serle, W. (1952) The affinities of the genus Picathartes Lesson. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 72: 2-6
  4. ^ Sibley, C. G. (1973). "The relationships of Picathartes" (PDF). Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 93: 23–25.
  5. ^ Jønsson, K.A., J. Fjeldså, P.G.P. Ericson, and M. Irestedt. 2007. Systematic placement of an enigmatic Southeast Asian taxon Eupetes macrocerus and implications for the biogeography of a main songbird radiation, the Passerida. Biology Letters 3(3):323-326
  6. ^ Note that, prior to the research by Jønsson et al., some literature has used the name Eupetidae as a name for a family containing the rail-babbler and the whipbirds and sometimes also the quail-thrushes; however this is now known to be an artificial grouping.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Robson, Craig (2002) A Field Guide to the Birds of South-east Asia, New Holland, London.
  8. ^ a b c d e Boles, W. (2007) "Family Eupetidae (Jewel-babblers and allies) "in del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A. & Christie D. (editors). (2007). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-84-96553-42-2
  9. ^ Yong, Ding Li; Foley, Con (2012). "A review of the occurrence and role of blue facial skin in South-East Asian birds" (PDF). Birding Asia. 17: 71–77.
  10. ^ a b c d MacKinnon, John & Karen Phillipps (1993) A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  11. ^ BirdLife International (2009) Species factsheet: Eupetes macrocerus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 5 January 2010.

Bibliography

External links

Amalocichla

Amalocichla is a genus of bird in the Petroicidae family that are found in New Guinea.

Australasian robin

The bird family Petroicidae includes 49 species in 19 genera. All are endemic to Australasia: New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand and numerous Pacific Islands as far east as Samoa. For want of an accurate common name, the family is often called the Australasian robins. Within the family the species are known not only as robins but as scrub-robins and flyrobins. They are, however, only distantly related to the Old World family Muscicapidae (to which other species with such names belong) and the monarch flycatchers (Monarchidae).

Cinclosomatidae

Cinclosomatidae is a family of passerine birds native to Australia and New Guinea. It has a complicated taxonomic history and different authors vary in which birds they include in the family. It includes the quail-thrushes and jewel-babblers.

Heteromyias

Heteromyias is a genus of passerine birds in the Australasian robin family Petroicidae.

The genus was introduced by the English zoologist Richard Bowdler Sharpe in 1879 with the grey-headed robin (Heteromyias cinereifrons) as the type species. The name of the genus combines the Ancient Greek heteros "different" and the Modern Latin myias "flycatcher".The genus contains two species:

Grey-headed robin (Heteromyias cinereifrons)

Ashy robin (Heteromyias albispecularis)

Jewel-babbler

The jewel-babblers are a genus, Ptilorrhoa of birds in the Cinclosomatidae family. The genus contains four species that are endemic to New Guinea. The genus was once considered to contain the rail-babbler, but that species is now considered to belong to its own family. The genus is closely related to the better known quail-thrushes (Cinclosoma) of New Guinea and Australia. Together with a number of other genera they comprise the family Cinclosomatidae, although the validity of this family as a whole has been questioned.

The jewel-babblers resemble the quail-thrushes in shape, being plump, long-tailed and short winged. They are adapted to life on the forest floor. The plumage of this genus is the most striking divergence from the quail-thrushes, having large amounts of blue and often with chestnut on the back. The throats of all species are white and the patch is mostly surrounded by a black edge. There is moderate levels of sexual dimorphism in the plumage, except in the dimorphic jewel-babbler where the female has no blue and is all chestnut coloured. When moving they hold the body horizontally to the ground, and bob their heads back and forth in a similar fashion to pigeons, and move their tail in a fashion similar to wagtails.

The jewel-babblers as a whole are not a well known or studied genus.

It contains the following species:

Spotted jewel-babbler (Ptilorrhoa leucosticta)

Blue jewel-babbler (Ptilorrhoa caerulescens)

Brown-headed jewel-babbler (Ptilorrha (caerulescens) geislerorum)

Chestnut-backed jewel-babbler (Ptilorrhoa castanonota)

List of birds of Brunei

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Brunei. The avifauna of Brunei include a total of 456 species, of which four are endemic, one has been introduced by humans, and one is rare or accidental. Twenty-five 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 the Birds of the World, 6th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for Brunei.

The following tags have been used to highlight several categories, but not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are commonly occurring native species.

(A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Brunei

(E) Endemic - a species endemic to Brunei

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

List of birds of Malaysia

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Malaysia. The avifauna of Malaysia include a total of 781 species, of which four are endemic, three have been introduced by humans and ten are rare or accidental. Forty-five 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 found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for Malaysia.

The following tags have been used to highlight several categories, but not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are commonly occurring native species.

(A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Malaysia

(E) Endemic - a species endemic to Malaysia

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

List of birds of Sumatra

Sumatra is one of the richest islands in Indonesia for animals. Its bird total species is second only to New Guinea. This great wealth is due to the large size of Sumatra, its diversity of habitat and also its past link with the Asian mainland. This following list of birds is based on the taxonomic treatment and scientific nomenclature of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 6th edition.

Melanodryas

Melanodryas is a genus of passerine birds in the Australasian robin family Petroicidae.

The genus was introduced by the English ornithologist and bird artist John Gould in 1865 with the hooded robin (Melanodryas cucullata) as the type species. The genus name combines the Ancient Greek melanos "black" with dryad "tree-nymph".The genus contains two species:

Hooded robin (Melanodryas cucullata)

Dusky robin (Melanodryas vittata)

Microeca

Microeca is a genus of passerine birds in the Australasian robin family Petroicidae. The species in this genus are commonly known as flyrobins (along with the closely related torrent flyrobin).

Olive flyrobin

The olive flyrobin (Kempiella flavovirescens) is a species of bird in the Australasian robin family Petroicidae that is found in New Guinea. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

The olive flyrobin was formerly placed in the genus Microeca. It was moved to the resurrected genus Kempiella, that had originally been introduced by the Australian ornithologist Gregory Mathews, based on the results of a molecular phylogenetic study published in 2011.

Pachycephalopsis

Pachycephalopsis is a genus of birds in the Australasian robin family Petroicidae that are found in New Guinea.

Peneothello

Peneothello is a genus of passerine birds in the Australasian robin family Petroicidae.

The genus Peneothello was introduced by the Australian born ornithologist Gregory Mathews in 1920 with white-winged robin (Peneothello sigillata) as the type species. The name combines the Latin pene "almost" and othello. Othello is the "Moorish" (ie black) Shakespeare character.The genus contains the following five species:

White-winged robin - Peneothello sigillata

Smoky robin - Peneothello cryptoleuca

Slaty robin - Peneothello cyanus

White-rumped robin - Peneothello bimaculata

Mangrove robin - Peneothello pulverulenta

Psophodidae

Psophodidae is a family of passerine birds native to Australia and nearby areas. It has a complicated taxonomic history and different authors vary in which birds they include in the family. In the strictest sense, it includes only the 5 or 6 species of whipbirds and wedgebills (Psophodes and Androphobus), but some authors also includes at the quail-thrushes (Cinclosoma), 8 species of ground-dwelling birds found in Australia and New Guinea, and the jewel-babblers (Ptilorrhoa), 3 or 4 species found in rainforest in New Guinea. Others place them in their own family, the Cinclosomatidae. The Malaysian rail-babbler (Eupetes macrocerus) was formerly sometimes placed in this family, which would then be called Eupetidae.

Torrent flyrobin

The torrent flyrobin (Monachella muelleriana) is a species of passerine bird in the Australasian robin family Petroicidae. It is also known as the torrent robin.

It is placed in the monotypic genus Monachella. The species occurs in New Guinea and on the island of New Britain in the Bismarck Archipelago. There are two subspecies, the nominate occurring in New Guinea and M. m. coultasi in New Britain.As suggested by its name the torrent flyrobin's preferred habitat is fast moving streams and rivers with protruding boulders.

Tregellasia

Tregellasia is a genus of birds in the Petroicidae family that are found in Australia and New Guinea.

The genus was introduced by the Australian ornithologist Gregory Mathews in 1912 with the pale-yellow robin (Tregellasia capito) as the type species. The genus name was chosen to honour the Australian field ornithologist Thomas Henry Tregellas (1864-1938).

White-breasted robin

The white-breasted robin (Quoyornis georgianus) is a passerine bird in the Australasian robin family Petroicidae and is the only species placed in the genus Quoyornis. It is endemic to southwestern Australia. Unlike many other Australian robins, it lacks bright colours in its plumage, being a predominantly greyish bird with white underparts. Like other closely related Australasian robins, it is a cooperative breeder. It is sedentary, with pairs or small groups maintaining territories.

Yellow-legged flyrobin

The yellow-legged flyrobin or yellow-legged flycatcher (Kempiella griseoceps) is a species of passerine bird in the Australasian robin family Petroicidae. It is found in New Guinea and Cape York Peninsula. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.

The yellow-legged flyrobin was formerly placed in the genus Microeca. It was moved to the resurrected genus Kempiella, that had originally been introduced by the Australian ornithologist Gregory Mathews, based on the results of a molecular phylogenetic study published in 2011.

Languages

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.