|Male superb fairy-wren|
(Malurus cyaneus, Maluridae)
The Maluridae are one of the many bird families to have evolved from a great adaptive radiation of what were crows to new ecological opportunities in Australasia. Their closest relatives are the Meliphagidae (honeyeaters), and the Pardalotidae.
Their obvious similarity to the wrens of Europe and America is not genetic, but simply the consequence of convergent evolution between more-or-less unrelated species that share the same ecological niche.
Their behaviour is similar to many other passerine families. The males defend territory and attract females by song and bright coloured plumage. Females are a dowdy brownish colour, better for camouflage. The males' colour is much less bright out of season. They are insectivorous, and nest in dense undergrowth. The parallels with Eurasian wrens are quite striking.
References[change | change source]
- Barker, FK; Barrowclough GF; Groth JG (2002). "A phylogenetic hypothesis for passerine birds: taxonomic and biogeographic implications of an analysis of nuclear DNA sequence data". Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. 269 (1488): 295–308. doi:10.1098/rspb.2001.1883. PMC 1690884. PMID 11839199.
- Barker, FK; Cibois A; Schikler P; Feinstein J; Cracraft J (2004). "Phylogeny and diversification of the largest avian radiation" (PDF). Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 101 (30): 11040–11045. doi:10.1073/pnas.0401892101. PMC 503738. PMID 15263073. Retrieved 2007-10-12.