Proposal (512) to South American Classification Committee

 

Transfer genera from Emberizidae to Thraupidae

 

Proposal:  If passed, this proposal would transfer a number of genera from Emberizidae to Thraupidae.

Background:  For a decade or more, we’ve known from genetic data that many primarily South American genera placed traditionally in the Emberizidae are actually tanagers.  Some we have already transferred.  This proposal seeks to move the remaining genera, as follows (with supporting references in parentheses).

Porphyrospiza (1; also morphology – Tordoff 1954a)

Phrygilus (2, 3, 1, 4, 14)

Melanodera (4, 14)

Haplospiza (3, 1, 4, 14)

Idiopsar (4, 14)

Diuca (5, 1, 6, 4, 10)

Lophospingus (1, 6)

Poospiza (7, 2, 3, 1, 4, 11, 14)

Compsospiza (1, 7, 4)

Sicalis (5, 2, 3, 1, 10, 11, 14, 4)

Emberizoides (1, 4)

Embernagra (2, 3, 1, 4, 14)

Volatinia (2, 3, 1, 10, 11)

Sporophila (2, 3, 1; also morphology – Clark 1986, 11)

Oryzoborus (9 as related to/embedded within Sporophila, 10, 11, 14, 1, 2, 3)

Dolospingus (13)

Catamenia (2, 3, 1, 4, 11, 14)

Coryphospingus (2, 3, 1, 8, 12, 4)

Rhodospingus (8)

Gubernatrix (4)

Camarhynchus (2, 3)

Certhidea (11, 2)

Coereba (11, 1, 2, 3, 5)

Euneornis (2, 3)

Geospiza (11, 12, 1, 2, 3)

Loxigilla (11, 14, 1, 2, 3)

Loxipasser (2, 3)

Melanospiza (2, 11, 3)

Melopyrrha (2, 3)

Pinaroloxias (11, 2)

Platyspiza (11, 2)

Tiaris (11, 12, 14, 1, 2, 3)

Parkerthraustes (1)

 

References (See SACC Bibliography for full citations):

(1) Klicka et al. 2007

(2) Burns et al. 2002

(3) Burns et al. 2003

(4) Campagna et al. 2011

(5) Bledsoe 1988

(6) Sedano & Burns 2009

(7) Lougheed et al. 2000

(8) Burns & Racicot 2009

(9) Lijtmaer et al. 2004

(10) Sibley & Ahlquist 1990

(11) Sato et al. 2001

(12) Yuri & Mindell 2002

(13) Robbins et al. 2005

(14) Mauck & Burns 2009

 

Part A.  In our opinion, the evidence is now overwhelming for their transfer from Emberizidae to Thraupidae.  A YES vote endorses the transfer.  If the proposal passes, we’ll then work on a linear sequence.

 

Part B.  There are also a few genera for which there are as yet no unpublished data.  Given their South American distribution and their supposed relationships to the genera above, we recommend that they also be removed from Emberizidae and placed Incertae Sedis until it can be confirmed to which family they belong.

 

Donacospiza
Piezorhina

Xenospingus

Incaspiza

Charitospiza

Coryphaspiza

 

 

Van Remsen & Kevin Burns, November 2011

 

 

 

=========================================================

 

Comments from Stiles: “YES; the evidence is clearly overwhelming, and my only fear is that the Thraupidae might displace Trochilidae as the second-largest strictly New World family! Actually, this makes the radiation of the Thraupidae (which presumably reached South America relatively late in the game) one of the most explosive on record – a diversity only exceeded by the Tyrannidae, which have been around considerably (?) longer!  Interesting implications for the evolution of frugivory (and coevolution with the many kinds of fruits taken and dispersed) in South America.  And going back to a question raised by Bob Storer a while back, how do we now define a “tanager”?  A further query: what about Saltator?”

 

Comments from Pacheco: “A – YES. The evidence together is clearly satisfactory. B – YES.  I also agree. At least, one reinforcing point: the nest of Charitospiza, only recently described, shown to be similar to that of Coryphospingus. See:http://www.ararajuba.org.br/sbo/ararajuba/artigos/Volume161/ara161not1.pdf

 

Comments from Pérez: “A- YES. There is a large amount of published information that needs to be incorporated into our classification. B- YES, hoping more information will provide with relevant phylogenetic information to place these birds within the oscine radiation. I am also intrigued by the absence of Saltator in the list, but I think it will have to go into the Incertae Sedis category.”