|Neochmia temporalis Red-browed Firetail|
|34 genera, 143 species|
The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They can be classified as the family Estrildidae (weaver-finch), or as a sub-group within the family Passeridae, which also includes the true sparrows.
They are gregarious and often colonial seed-eaters with short, thick, but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but vary widely in plumage colours and pattern.
All the estrildids build large domed nests and lay 5–10 white eggs. Many species build roost nests. Some of the fire-finches and pytilias are hosts to the brood-parasitic indigobirds and whydahs respectively.
Most are sensitive to cold and require a warm, usually tropical, habitat, although a few have adapted to the cooler climates of southern Australia.
The smallest species of the family is the Fernando Po Oliveback (Nesocharis shelleyi) at a mere 8.3 cm (3.3 inches), although the lightest species is the Black-rumped Waxbill (Estrilda troglodytes) at 6 g. The largest species is the Java Sparrow (Padda oryzivora), at 17 cm (6.7 inches) and 25 g.
- Parrotfinches, genus Erythrura
- Gouldian Finch, Erythrura gouldiae
- Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch, Erythrura hyperythra
- Pin-tailed Parrotfinch, Erythrura prasina
- Green-faced Parrotfinch, Erythrura viridifacies
- Tricoloured Parrotfinch, Erythrura tricolor
- Red-eared Parrotfinch, Erythrura coloria
- Blue-faced Parrotfinch, Erythrura trichroa
- Papuan Parrotfinch, Erythrura papuana
- Red-throated Parrotfinch, Erythrura psittacea
- Red-headed Parrotfinch, Erythrura cyaneovirens
- Royal Parrotfinch, Erythrura regia
- Fiji Parrotfinch, Erythrura pealii
- Pink-billed Parrotfinch, Erythrura kleinschmidti
- Genus Stagonopleura
- Genus Poephila
- Genus Spermestes
- Munias and Silverbills, genus Lonchura
- Timor Sparrow, Lonchura fuscata
- Java Sparrow, Lonchura oryzivora
- White-rumped Munia, Lonchura striata
- Javan Munia, Lonchura leucogastroides
- Dusky Munia, Lonchura fuscans
- Black-faced Munia, Lonchura molucca
- Nutmeg Mannikin/Scaly-breasted Munia, Lonchura punctulata
- Black-throated Munia, Lonchura kelaarti
- White-bellied Munia, Lonchura leucogastra
- Streak-headed Munia, Lonchura tristissima
- White-spotted Mannikin, Lonchura leucosticta
- Five-coloured Munia, Lonchura quinticolor
- Tricoloured Munia, Lonchura malacca
- Chestnut Munia, Lonchura atricapilla
- White-capped Munia, Lonchura ferruginosa
- White-headed Munia, Lonchura maja
- Pale-headed Munia, Lonchura pallida
- Great-billed Munia, Lonchura grandis
- Grey-banded Munia, Lonchura vana
- Grey-headed Munia, Lonchura caniceps
- Grey-crowned Munia, Lonchura nevermanni
- Hooded Munia, Lonchura spectabilis
- Forbes's Munia, Lonchura forbesi
- Hunstein's Munia, Lonchura hunsteini
- New Hanover Munia, Lonchura nigerrima
- Yellow-rumped Munia, Lonchura flaviprymna
- Chestnut-breasted Munia, Lonchura castaneothorax
- Black Munia, Lonchura stygia
- Black-breasted Munia, Lonchura teerinki
- Eastern Alpine Munia, Lonchura monticola
- Western Alpine Munia, Lonchura montana
- Buff-bellied Munia, Lonchura melaena
- Cream-bellied Munia, Lonchura pallidiventer
- Avadavats, genus Amandava
- Quailfinches, genus Ortygospiza
- Genus Granatina
- Cordon-bleus, genus Uraeginthus
- Seedcrackers, genus Pyrenestes
- Bluebills, genus Spermophaga
- Genus Euschistospiza
- Genus Hypargos
- Pytilias, genus Pytilia
- Firefinches, genus Lagonosticta
- Red-billed Firefinch, Lagonosticta senegala
- Brown Firefinch, Lagonosticta nitidula
- Bar-breasted Firefinch, Lagonosticta rufopicta
- Black-faced Firefinch, Lagonosticta larvata
- Black-bellied Firefinch, Lagonosticta rara
- Landana Firefinch, Lagonosticta landanae
- African Firefinch, Lagonosticta rubricata
- Mali Firefinch, Lagonosticta virata
- Rock Firefinch, Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis
- Chad Firefinch, Lagonosticta umbrinodorsalis
- Jameson's Firefinch, Lagonosticta rhodopareia
- Antpeckers, genus Parmoptila
- Negrofinches, genus Nigrita
- Genus Coccopygia
- Olivebacks, genus Nesocharis
- Crimson-wings, genus Cryptospiza
- Waxbills, genus Estrilda
- Lavender Waxbill, Estrilda caerulescens
- Grey Waxbill, Estrilda perreini
- Cinderella Waxbill, Estrilda thomensis
- Anambra Waxbill, Estrilda poliopareia
- Fawn-breasted Waxbill, Estrilda paludicola
- Abyssinian Waxbill, Estrilda ochrogaster
- Orange-cheeked Waxbill, Estrilda melpoda
- Crimson-rumped Waxbill, Estrilda rhodopyga
- Arabian Waxbill, Estrilda rufibarba
- Black-rumped Waxbill, Estrilda troglodytes
- Common Waxbill, Estrilda astrild
- Black-lored Waxbill, Estrilda nigriloris
- Black-headed Waxbill, Estrilda atricapilla
- Black-crowned Waxbill, Estrilda nonnula
- Kandt's Waxbill, Estrilda kandti
- Black-faced Waxbill, Estrilda erythronotos
- Black-cheeked Waxbill, Estrilda charmosyna
The phylogeography and possible origin of Estrildinae finches have been studied. The following scheme may be useful to represent an hypothetical origin in India in the last and stronger Himalayas uplift (16.5 million years ago),when monsoon rains regime established in India (see figure). The conclusions from this study are:
- Estrildids are a monophyletic group with polytomies that may have started evolving by Middle Miocene Epoch (about 16.5 million years ago)
- This proposed timing is coincidental with the Fringillinae finches’ radiation starting time and also with the biggest Himalayan and Tibetan Plateau uplift, triggered by the Indian tectonic plate strongest collision; this established present day southern Asia monsoon regime and other drastic climatic changes, like a dryer weather in Tibetan Plateau and China deserts.
- The Estrildid finches form a monophyletic group which includes several polytomies and comprises African, Asian and Australian birds.
- The most ancient evolutive group comprises African (African silverbill), Asian (Indian silverbill) and Australian (diamond firetail); this suggests that the whole Estrildids radiation might have originated around India.
- The African group Nesocharis is grouped with the African gender Estrilda.
- The Gouldian finch (Erythrura or Chloebia gouldiae) is definitely included within genus Erythrura with the other species.
- The Java sparrow (Padda or Lonchura oryzivora) is a very modified species from genus Lonchura: bigger size than the rest of Lonchura species, and a noticeable and quite different head pattern. It is endemic from Java, Bali, and Bawean Islands, although escapes from captivity can be seen today in other neighboring islands.
- African munias (Spermestes) belong to a genus (evolutive group) totally different to Australian and Asian munias.
- The Australian species Red-browed Firetail (Neochmia temporalis), very similar to African common waxbill (Estrilda astrild), is unrelated to it. Their similarities (bill, red brow, etc.) are due to convergent evolution, since their environmental pressures (weather, habitat, feeding) are similar.
- Christidis L, Boles WE (2008). Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. Canberra: CSIRO Publishing. p. 177. ISBN 9780643065116.
- Sibley CG, Monroe BL (1990). Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World. Yale University Press
- Arnaiz-Villena,A; Gomez-Prieto,P.; Serna-Ayala; Ruiz-del-Valle,V. (2009). "Origen de los estríldidos".
- Arnaiz-Villena,A; Ruiz-del-Valle,V.; Gomez-Prieto,P.; Reguera,R.; Parga-Lozano,C; Serrano-Vela,J.I. (2009). "Estrildinae Finches (Aves, Passeriformes) from Africa, South Asia and Australia: a Molecular Phylogeographic Study"(PDF). The Open Ornithology Journal 2: 29-36. (doi:10.2174/1874453200902010029).
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