suborder of birds
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Songbirds are the main group of birds in the order Passeriformes. They are the suborder Passeri, sometimes called 'oscines' (Latin for songbird). They are a genuine clade.

Temporal range: early Eocene to present
Eastern yellow robin (Eopsaltria australis)
Song of a chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina)
Scientific classification

There are about 4000 species of songbird. Their syrinx (vocal organ) is able to produce varied and beautiful singing.[1] They are a very successful group of birds, in fact they are the dominant birds on Earth today.

It seems songbirds evolved 50 million years ago in the part of Gondwana which later became Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and Antarctica. They then spread around the world.[2][3]

Song change

Their song is mainly territorial: it communicates the identity and whereabouts of an individual to other birds of the same species. It also signals sexual intentions. Female preference in some populations is based on the extent of a male's song repertoire. The larger a male's repertoire, the more females a male individual attracts.[4]

Bird calls are also used for alarms and contact. They are especially important in birds that feed or migrate in flocks. Although almost all birds give calls of some sort, well-developed songs are only given by a few lines outside the songbirds.

Families change

Corvida change

This is now known to be a paraphyletic group and so it is not used in modern systematics.

Passerida change

This is accepted as a clade.

References change

  1. There are some exceptions, the crow family, for example.
  2. Barker F.K. et al 2004. Phylogeny and diversification of the largest avian radiation. PNAS 101(30): 11040-11045.
  3. Low T. 2014. Where song began: Australia's birds and how they changed the world. Penguin Australia.
  4. Byers, B.E. and D.E. Kroodsma 2008. Female mate choice and songbird song repertoires. The Association for the Study of Animal Behavior 77: 13-22.

Other websites change