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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2006 Sep;40(3):687-95. Epub 2006 Apr 28.

Phylogenetic relationships of the bulbuls (Aves: Pycnonotidae) based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data.

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  • 1Department of Ornithology, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY 10024, USA.


Bulbuls (Aves: Pycnonotidae) are a fairly speciose (ca. 130 sp.) bird family restricted to the Old World. Family limits and taxonomy have been revised substantially over the past decade, but a comprehensive molecular phylogeny for the family has not been undertaken. Using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences, we reconstructed a well-supported phylogenetic hypothesis for the bulbuls. Three basal lineages were identified: a large African clade, a large Asian clade that also included African Pycnonotus species, and the monotypic African genus Calyptocichla. The African clade was sister to the other two lineages, but this placement did not have high branch support. The genus Pycnonotus was not monophyletic because three species (eutilotus, melanoleucos, and atriceps) were highly diverged from the other species and sister to all other Asian taxa. Additional taxon sampling is needed to further resolve relationships and taxonomy within the large and variable Hypsipetes complex.

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