Threskiornithidae

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Threskiornithidae
Royal Spoonbill444.jpg
Royal spoonbill
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Threskiornithidae
Richmond, 1917
Subfamilies

The family Threskiornithidae includes 34 species of large wading birds. The family has been traditionally classified into two subfamilies, the ibises and the spoonbills ; however recent genetic studies are casting doubt on the arrangement, and revealing the spoonbills to be nested within the old world ibises, and the new world ibises as an early offshoot.

Contents

Taxonomy

The family Threskiornithidae was formerly known as Plataleidae. The spoonbills and ibises were once thought to be related to other groups of long-legged wading birds in the order Ciconiiformes. A recent study found that they are members of the order Pelecaniformes. [2] In response to these findings, the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) recently[ when? ] reclassified Threskiornithidae and their sister taxa Ardeidae under the order Pelecaniformes instead of the previous order of Ciconiiformes. [3] Whether the two subfamilies are reciprocally monophyletic is an open question. The South American Checklist Committee's entry for the Threskiornithidae includes the following comment "Two subfamilies are traditionally (e.g., Matheu & del Hoyo 1992) recognized: Threskiornithinae for ibises and Plataleinae for spoonbills; because the main distinction has to do with bill shape, additional information, especially genetic, is required to recognize a major, deep split in the family." [4]

A study of mitochondrial DNA of the spoonbills plus the sacred and scarlet ibises found that the spoonbills formed a clade with old world genus Threskiornis , with Nipponia nippon and Eudocimus as progressively earlier offshoots and more distant relatives, and hence casts doubt on the arrangement of the family into ibis and spoonbill subfamilies. [5] Subsequent studies have supported these findings, the spoonbills forming a monophyletic clade within the "widespread" clade of ibises, including Plegadis and Threskiornis, while the "new World Endemic" clade is formed by the genera restricted to the Americas such as Eudocimus and Theristicus. [6]

Description

Members of the family have long, broad wings with 11 primary feathers and about 20 secondaries. They are strong fliers and, rather surprisingly, given their size and weight, very capable soarers. The body tends to be elongated, the neck more so, with rather long legs. The bill is also long, decurved in the case of the ibises, straight and distinctively flattened in the spoonbills. They are large birds, but mid-sized by the standards of their order, ranging from the dwarf olive ibis (Bostrychia bocagei), at 45 cm (18 in) and 450 g (0.99 lb), to the giant ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea), at 100 cm (39 in) and 4.2 kg (9.3 lb).

Distribution and ecology

They are distributed almost worldwide, being found near almost any area of standing or slow-flowing fresh or brackish water. Ibises are also found in drier areas, including landfills.

The Llanos are notable in that these wetland plains support seven species of ibis in the one region. [7]

All ibises are diurnal; spending the day feeding on a wide range of invertebrates and small vertebrates: ibises by probing in soft earth or mud, spoonbills by swinging the bill from side to side in shallow water. At night, they roost in trees near water. They are gregarious, feeding, roosting, and flying together, often in formation.

Nesting is colonial in ibises, more often in small groups or singly in spoonbills, nearly always in trees overhanging water, but sometimes on islands or small islands in swamps. Generally, the female builds a large structure out of reeds and sticks brought by the male. Typical clutch size is two to five; hatching is asynchronic. Both sexes incubate in shifts, and after hatching feed the young by partial regurgitation. Two or three weeks after hatching, the young no longer need to be brooded continuously and may leave the nest, often forming creches but returning to be fed by the parents.

Species

Black-headed ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus) in Tamil Nadu, India Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus).jpg
Black-headed ibis ( Threskiornis melanocephalus ) in Tamil Nadu, India
Eurasian spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) in India Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) at Bharatpur I IMG 5670.jpg
Eurasian spoonbill ( Platalea leucorodia ) in India

FAMILY: THRESKIORNITHIDAE

Related Research Articles

Spoonbill

Spoonbills are a genus, Platalea, of large, long-legged wading birds. The spoonbills have a global distribution, being found on every continent except Antarctica. The genus name Platalea derives from Latin and means "broad", referring to the distinctive shape of the bill. Six species are recognised, which although usually placed in a single genus have sometimes been split into three genera.

Pelecaniformes

The Pelecaniformes are an order of medium-sized and large waterbirds found worldwide. As traditionally—but erroneously—defined, they encompass all birds that have feet with all four toes webbed. Hence, they were formerly also known by such names as totipalmates or steganopodes. Most have a bare throat patch, and the nostrils have evolved into dysfunctional slits, forcing them to breathe through their mouths. They also have a pectinate nail on their longest toe. This is shaped like a comb and is used to brush out and separate their feathers. They feed on fish, squid, or similar marine life. Nesting is colonial, but individual birds are monogamous. The young are altricial, hatching from the egg helpless and naked in most. They lack a brood patch.

White-faced ibis

The white-faced ibis is a wading bird in the ibis family, Threskiornithidae.

Australian white ibis

The Australian white ibis is a wading bird of the ibis family, Threskiornithidae. It is widespread across much of Australia. It has a predominantly white plumage with a bare, black head, long downcurved bill and black legs. Its sister species is the African sacred ibis.

Eurasian spoonbill Species of bird

The Eurasian spoonbill, or common spoonbill, is a wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family Threskiornithidae. The genus name Platalea is from Latin and means "broad", referring to the distinctive shape of the bill, and leucorodia is from Ancient Greek leukerodios "spoonbill", itself derived from leukos, "white" and erodios "heron". In England it was traditionally known as the "shovelard", a name later used for the Northern Shoveller.

African spoonbill

The African spoonbill is a long-legged wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family Threskiornithidae. The species is widespread across Africa and Madagascar, including Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Roseate spoonbill

The roseate spoonbill is a gregarious wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family, Threskiornithidae. It is a resident breeder in South America mostly east of the Andes, and in coastal regions of the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, the Gulf Coast of the United States, and from central Florida's Atlantic coast at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, adjoined with NASA Kennedy Space Center at least as far north as South Carolina's Myrtle Beach.

Giant ibis

The giant ibis, the only species in the monotypic genus Thaumatibis, is a wading bird of the ibis family, Threskiornithidae. It is confined to northern Cambodia, with a few birds surviving in extreme southern Laos and a recent sighting in Yok Đôn National Park, Vietnam.

Black-faced spoonbill

The black-faced spoonbill is a species of wading bird in the ibis and spoonbill family Threskiornithidae, found in eastern Asia. This species has the most restricted distribution of the six spoonbill species, and it is the only one regarded as endangered. Spoonbills are large water birds with dorso-ventrally flattened, spatulate bills. These birds use a tactile method of feeding, wading in the water and sweeping their beaks from side-to-side to detect prey. Confined to the coastal areas of eastern Asia, it seems that it was once common throughout its area of distribution. It currently breeds only on a few small rocky islands off the west coast of North Korea, with four wintering sites at Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam, as well as other places where they have been observed in migration. Wintering also occurs in Jeju, South Korea, Kyushu and Okinawa, Japan, and the Red River delta in Vietnam. More recently, sightings of black-faced spoonbill birds were noted in Thailand, the Philippines, and additional sites in China. They were internationally classified as an endangered species by the IUCN in 2000. Declines in their population are predicted in the future, mainly due to the amount of deforestation, pollution, and other man-made industries.

<i>Geronticus</i>

The small bird genus Geronticus belongs to the ibis subfamily (Threskiornithinae). Its name is derived from the Greek gérontos in reference to the bald head of these dark-plumaged birds; in English they are called bald ibises.

Royal spoonbill

The royal spoonbill also known as the black-billed spoonbill, occurs in intertidal flats and shallows of fresh and saltwater wetlands in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. It has also been recorded as a vagrant in New Caledonia. The royal spoonbill lives in wetlands and feeds on crustaceans, fish and small insects by sweeping its bill from side to side. It always flies with its head extended. Widespread throughout its large range, the royal spoonbill is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Yellow-billed spoonbill

The yellow-billed spoonbill is a gregarious wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family, Threskiornithidae. It is native to Australia, and is a vagrant to New Zealand, Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island.

Green ibis

The green ibis, also known as the Cayenne ibis, is a wading bird in the ibis family Threskiornithidae. It is the only member of the genus Mesembrinibis.

Southern bald ibis

The southern bald ibis is a large bird found in open grassland or semi-desert in the mountains of southern Africa. Taxonomically, it is most closely related to its counterpart in the northern regions of Africa, the waldrapp. As a species, it has a very restricted homerange, limited to the southern tips of South Africa in highland and mountainous regions.

<i>Eudocimus</i>

Eudocimus is a genus of ibises, wading birds of the family Threskiornithidae. They occur in the warmer parts of the New World with representatives from the southern United States south through Central America, the West Indies, and South America.

Buff-necked ibis

The buff-necked ibis, also known as the white-throated ibis, is a fairly large ibis found widely in open habitats of eastern and northern South America. It formerly included the similar black-faced ibis as a subspecies, but that species is almost entirely restricted to colder parts of South America, has a buff lower chest, and lacks the contrasting large white wing-patches.

Olive ibis

The olive ibis is a species of ibis native to dense tropical forests in central Africa. Between 65 and 75 cm in length, it is a small ibis with predominantly olive plumage with iridescent sheen. Four subspecies are recognized.

Spot-breasted ibis

The spot-breasted ibis is a species of bird and is a member of the order Pelecaniformes and the family Threskiornithidae. It is a wading bird which lives is swampy forested areas and is found in tropical regions. Its preference for dense rainforests in tropical Africa means that it is seldom seen and is vulnerable to deforestation.

<i>Theristicus</i>

Theristicus is a genus of birds in the family Threskiornithidae. They are found in open, grassy habitats in South America. All have a long, decurved dark bill, relatively short reddish legs that do not extend beyond the tail in flight, and at least the back is grey.

References

  1. Myers, P. R.; C. S. Parr; T. Jones; G. S. Hammond; T. A. Dewey. "Family Threskiornithidae (ibises and spoonbills)". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan. Retrieved 2009-09-09.
  2. Hackett, Shannon J.; Kimball, Rebecca T.; Reddy, Sushma; Bowie, Rauri C. K.; Braun, Edward L.; Braun, Michael J.; Chojnowski, Jena L.; Cox, W. Andrew; Han, Kin-Lan; Harshman, John; Huddleston, Christopher J.; Marks, Ben D.; Miglia, Kathleen J.; Moore, William S.; Sheldon, Frederick H.; Steadman, David W.; Witt, Christopher C.; Yuri, Tamaki (June 2008). "A Phylogenomic Study of Birds Reveals Their Evolutionary History". Science. 320 (5884): 1763–1768. doi:10.1126/science.1157704. PMID   18583609.
  3. "Gill, F. & D. Donsker (Eds). 2010. IOC World Bird Names (version 2.4). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/ [Accessed 29 May 2010].
  4. "A classification of the bird species of South America". South American Classification Committee. American Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  5. Chesser, R.Terry; Yeung, Carol K.L.; Yao, Cheng-Te; Tians, Xiu-Hua; Li Shou-Hsien (2010). "Molecular phylogeny of the spoonbills (Aves: Threskiornithidae) based on mitochondrial DNA". Zootaxa. 2603 (2603): 53–60. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.2603.1.2. ISSN   1175-5326.
  6. J.L. Ramirez; C.Y. Miyaki & S.N. Del Lama (2013). "Molecular phylogeny of Threskiornithidae (Aves: Pelecaniformes) based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA". Genetics and Molecular Research. 12 (3): 2740–2750. doi: 10.4238/2013.July.30.11 . PMID   23979898.
  7. Frederick, Peter C.; Bildstein, Keith L. "Foraging Ecology of Seven Species of Neotropical Ibises (Threskiornithidae) during the Dry Season in the Llanos of Venezuela". The Wilson Bulletin. 104 (1): 1–21.