name = "Catharus"
image_caption = Gray-cheeked Thrush
image_width = 250px
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Passeriformes
genus = " Catharus "
genus_authority = Bonaparte, 1850
subdivision_ranks = species
subdivision = "See list"
"Catharus" is a
genusof birds in the thrush family Turdidae. It contains the small, mostly insectivorous or omnivorous migrant thrushes of North Americaand the nightingale-thrushes of Central and South America. Its closest relative is the Wood Thrushof the monotypicgenus "Hylocichla" (Winker & Pruett, 2006) which is sometimes merged into "Catharus".
These are mainly forest birds with large eyes, straight slim bills and fluty voices.
This is a typical New World thrush genus, although representatives of other genera, such as the
true thrushes ("Turdus") also occur in the region, especially in Central and South America.
The "Catharus" species are either long-distance migrants or fairly resident birds. They were sometimes split according to this and morphological characters, the migrant group occasionally including the Wood Thrush also. Comparison of
mtDNAcytochrome "b" and NADH dehydrogenase subunit2 as well as nuclear β-fibrinogen intron7 sequence data indicates that this is incorrect (Winker & Pruett, 2006).
Due to the adaptational requirements of the independently acquired long-distance migrant lifestyle, several apparent morphological similarities between supposedly related species are actually due to
convergent evolution. It seems that the genus originated in tropicalor subtropicalforest ecosystems of northern Central America, and that every so often species diverged to settle more northerly regions, subsequently finding themselves forced to migrate south in winter into more food-rich habitat. The most ancient of these northward divergences was probably Swainson's Thrush, and the most recent one the "fuscescens-minimus-bicknelli" cryptic species complex.
The nightingale-thrushes are also
paraphyletic. Whereas the "aurantiirostris-fuscater/mexicanus-dryas" group indeed forms a distinct lineage – probably living close to the genus' center of origin – the Russet Nightingale-thrush is closest to the Hermit Thrush. The Ruddy-capped Nightingale-thrush is close to the Gray-cheeked species complex, while the Black-billed Nightingale-thrush is also fairly close to both of the nightingale-thrush/migrant lineages. Swainson's Thrush has no close living relatives.
The species are:
Veery, Willow Thrush or Wilson's Thrush, "Catharus fuscescens"
Gray-cheeked Thrush, "Catharus minimus"
Bicknell's Thrush, "Catharus bicknelli"
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-thrush, "Catharus frantzii"
Black-billed Nightingale-thrush, "Catharus gracilirostris"
Hermit Thrush, "Catharus guttatus"
Russet Nightingale-thrush, "Catharus occidentalis"
Swainson's Thrushor Olive-backed Thrush, "Catharus ustulatus"
Orange-billed Nightingale-thrush, "Catharus aurantiirostris"
Slaty-backed Nightingale-thrush, "Catharus fuscater"
Black-headed Nightingale-thrush, "Catharus mexicanus"
Spotted Nightingale-thrush, "Catharus dryas"
American Ornithologists' Union(AOU) (1998): "Check-list of North American Birds" (7th ed.). American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
* Stiles, F. Gary & Skutch, Alexander Frank (1989): "A guide to the birds of Costa Rica". Comistock, Ithaca. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4
* Winker, Kevin & Pruett, Christin L. (2006): Seasonal migration, speciation, and morphological convergence in the avian genus "Catharus" (Turdidae). "Auk" 123(4): 1052-1068. [Article in English with Spanish abstract] DOI: 10.1642/0004-8038(2006)123 [1052:SMSAMC] 2.0.CO;2 [http://www.uaf.edu/museum/bird/personnel/KWinker/Catharus%20Auk%202006.pdf PDF fulltext]
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