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Title: Phylogenies of the sunbirds, spiderhunters and flowerpeckers (Nectariniidae) based on analyses of vocalisations
Author: Iddi, Kassim Nicholas
ISNI:       0000 0004 2675 4505
Awarding Body: University of Greenwich
Current Institution: University of Greenwich
Date of Award: 2008
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This study constructed phylogenies for the Nectariniidae from up to 20 parameters derived from quantitative analyses of their vocalisations and used these to test hypotheses on whether or not the origin of sunbirds is African or Asian. In addition to standard sonographic measurements, this study is the first to use entropy values derived directly from sonograms as an objective way of separating calls from songs and simple songs from complex songs. The affinities of the genera of flowerpeckers were firmly established on vocal grounds and concurred with their traditional taxonomy. The vocal phylogeny failed to separate sunbirds from spiderhunters but showed that the Asian group of sunbirds emerged as the basal clade and therefore the most primitive clade of the sunbird lineage. This is in agreement with the phylogenetic outcome of recent DNA studies. It is therefore concluded that sunbirds may have originated on the Indian subcontinent, reached Indian Ocean islands including Madagascar and then penetrated into Africa, with the possibility that some oceanic island species were later derived from secondary invasions from Africa. The results further suggest that the clade of the Gulf of Guinea group of species may have arisen from a common ancestor from the African continent. The Indian Ocean island species also separated as a distinct group. Mean bill lengths and body sizes of different taxa were analysed in relation to the vocalisations. The results indicated significant relationships between bill length and body size and song complexity, with the latter higher in the more advanced genera.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QL Zoology