|Subdesert mesite (Monias benschi)|
|Unrecognized taxon ():||Mesitornithidae|
|Respective ranges: brown mesite in orange, white-breasted mesite in green and subdesert mesite in blue|
Mesites are small birds which only occur on Madagascar. They are flighless, or near-flightless. There are three species, in two genera. The IUCN has classified them as near-threatened. The IUCN estimates that there are only about 145.000 birds left. They resemble doves in appearance.
Description[change | change source]
The mesites are forest and scrubland birds that feed on insects and seeds. The brown and white-breasted mesites forage on the ground, gleaning insects from the leaves and under them, as well as low vegetation. The subdesert mesite uses its long bill to probe in the soil. Other birds, such as drongos and flycatchers, will follow mesites to catch any insects they flush and miss. Mesites are vocal birds, with calls similar to passerine song, used for territorial defence. Two or three white eggs are laid in a stick-nest located in a bush or low branch. The Mesitornis species are monogamous while Monias benschi is polygamous and unlike the other two shows significant sexual dichromatism.
Systematics[change | change source]
|Monias Oustalet & Grandidier, 1903||
|Mesitornis Bonaparte, 1855 [Mesites Geoffroy, 1838 non Schoenherr, 1838; Mesoenas Reichenbach, 1861]|
Recent phylogenomic studies support Pterocliformes (sandgrouse) as the sister group of mesites while some more recent studies place this clade with another clade constituted of Columbiformes and Cuculiformes (cuckoos).
References[change | change source]
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