Birds of the World

COAST BIRDS
  Contents
  Index
WORLD BIRDS
  Contents
  Index

ANECDOTES

  Emberizines
 
 
 

TRAITS
 Ratites
 Tinamous
 Cracids/Galli
 Waterfowl
   Screamers
   Ducks

 Penguins
 Loons
 Grebes
 Procellarids
   Albatrosses
   Petrels
   Storm-Petrels

Totipalmate Swm

   Tropicbirds
   Gannets/Boobies
   Pelicans
   Cormorants
   Anhingas
   Frigatebirds

 
Waders
   Herons
   Ibises
   Storks  

 NW Vultures
 Flamingos
 Raptors
 Gruiformes
   Buttonquail
   Bustards
   Cranes
   Rails

 Shorebirds
   Sandgrouse
   Plovers
   Oystercatchers
   Stilts
   Sandpipers
   Gulls/Terns
   Auks

 Pigeons
 Parrots
 Turacos
 Cuckoos
 Owls
 Frogmouths
 Nightjars
 Swifts/Humbd
 Colies
 Coraciae

   Hornbills
   Hoopoes
   Trogons
   Rollers
   Kingfishers
   Bee-eaters
   Jacamars/Puffbd

 
Pici
   Honeyguides
   Woodpeckers
   Barbets/Toucans

PASSERINES
   NZ WRENS
   OW SUBOSC

      Broadbills
      Pittas

 NW SUBOSC
   NW Flycatchers

   Becards
   Cotingas
   Manakins
   Antbirds
   Ovenbirds
   Woodcreepers
   Antthrushes
   Tapaculos 

 OSCINES
 Lyre-/Scrub-birds
 Bowerbirds
 Aust. Wrens
 Honeyeaters
 Scrubwrens
 Aust. Robins
 Kinglets
 Shrikes
 Vireos
 Whistlers
 Corvids
 Birds-of-Paradse
 OW Orioles
 Cuckoo-shrikes
 Fantails
 Drongos
 Monarchs
 Bush-shrikes
 Wattle-eyes
 Vangas
 Waxwings
 Dippers
 Thrushes
 OW Flycatchers
 Starlings
 Mimids
 Nuthatches
 N Creepers
 Wrens
 Gnatcatchers
 Tits/Parids
 Larks
 Swallows
 Leaf-Warblers
 Bulbuls
 Cisticolas
 White-eyes
 Babblers
 OW Warblers
 Flowerpeckers
 Sunbirds
 OW Sparrows
 Accentors
 Pipits
 Estridids
 Weavers
 Whydahs
 9-prim. Oscines

   Fringillines
   Carduelines
   Hawaiian Honycrp
   NW Sparrows
   NW Warblers
   Tanagers
   Cardinals
   NW Blackbirds

TOP

 
Passeriformes, Oscines, Passerida, Passeroidea - Emberizines
 
Skip to:   
Passerida, Passeroidea, Nine-primaried Oscines
Families: New World Sparrows - Emberizines, Bananaquit
 
Skip to:   
Darwin's Finches
 
Species:   
Large Cactus Ground Finch, Small Ground Finch, Medium Ground Finch, Large Ground Finch, Woodpecker Finch
 
Images:   
California Towhee, Brewer's Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow,
Dark-eyed Junco, McCowan's Longspur, Saffron Finch, Bananaquit
   
  Order Passeriformes - Perching Birds
   Suborder Passeres - "Oscines," Song Birds
Wiki     ToL     EoL
Wiki     ToL
  Passerines. Most passerines are smaller than members of non-passerine orders. They have a perching foot with three toes directed forward and the one (the hallux) backward with locking tendons to facilitate perching when their tendons are flexed. All passerines scratch by bringing the foot over the wing. Incubation ranges from 11 -21 days. Young are altricial - they hatch blind with little or no down - and nidicolous - spending 10-15 days or so in the nest.  Subsequent development is rapid and young approach adult mass at fledging. Parents provide care beyond fledging.
Oscines, Suborder Passeres, are our "song birds" with complex syringeal muscles used to produce varied and complex vocalizations.
Passerida. Radiation in Eurasia, Africa and North America (with later colonization of South America). Passerida have two humeral fossae (Corvida have one).
Passeroidea - herbivores (many seed-eaters) centered in the Palearctic and New World. Many are bright and sexually dimorphic.
Nine-primaried Oscines. Nine functional primaries in the wing.
 
  Family Emberizidae - Emberizines (Towhees, Juncos,
         New World Sparrows)
Family Calcariidae - Buntings, Longspurs
Wiki     EoL
EXAMPLE
 
156 species, 32 genera (excluding Geospizinae) - Sibley and Monroe (1990). Clements includes the Seedeaters and their allies in this group with a total of 329 species. Dickinson (2003) and Harris (2009) list 308 species in 73 genera. These sources include the 14 species, 4 genera of "Darwin's Finches" (Geospizinae) in the family Emberizidae). Sibley and Monroe place them with the tanagers. In the South American check-list, they are incertae sedis. In addition, several species of South American emberizines may be tanagers or cardinalines and the bush-tanagers may be emberizids. The closest relatives of the Emberizidae are the Icteridae.
   New World with a few reaching Africa and Eurasia and beyond. 
   Emberizines are our New World "sparrows" and Old World "buntings" - relatively small perching birds with a conical, seed-eating bill. Most are dull and many are brown with streaks on the flanks of throat. Their wings are short and rounded and their tails are often relatively long. They are primarily seed eaters (although young birds are fed insects and other soft food) and they forage primarily on the ground. They are able to scratch (both legs at once) to retrieve food beneath soil, leaves, or snow. Many are grassland dwellers. They are part of our nine-primaried assemblage of passerines.  More northern species typically migrate in the winter (flying at night). Many species flock outside the breeding season.
   Emberizines occur in a wide variety of habitats - often in open country and margins. Few associate with lowland tropical forests but many occur in dry forest and scrub in South America.
   Emberizines have loud and recognizable songs and call notes - some grassland species have weak, insect-like songs. They often sing from an exposed perch. With sparrows (like warblers) it really helps to learn their song.
    Most species are monogamous. Their nesting is usually solitary. The nest is most often a cup-shaped, open structure, placed in low bushes or trees, sometimes on the ground - often well concealed.  Females do most of the nest building. They usually lay 2-6 eggs (fewer in the tropics, more in northern latitudes). The female incubates. The male helps feed the young in many species (less so in the Old World). Most species have multiple broods (mid-latitudes).
   At one point, emberizines (New World sparrows, Old World buntings), cardinalines (grosbeaks, Northern Cardinal, New World buntings),  fringillines (Chaffinch and Brambling), and carduelines (rosy-finches, finches, siskins, canaries) were all placed in one family (Fringillidae). Various rearrangements have occurred in recent years to try to make more monophyletic assemblages. From this has emerged the Family Emberizidae, a family including North American sparrows and buntings, and the Family Frigillidae, including fringilline and cardueline finches. Sibley and Monroe's (1990) grouping is probably more complicated than necessary.
   Przewalski's Rosefinch, Urocynchroamus pylzowi, has  been placed in a separate family by Clements (2007)
       
  California Towhee


   California 
   Towhee,
   Melozone  
   crissalis
.
   Las Gallinas 
   Ponds, CA
       Wiki     EoL

   Photo by Ed
   Konrad
Brewer's Sparrow Song Sparrow
Brewer's Sparrow, Spizella breweri.
Rocky Mountain National Park, CO.
                                                           Wiki     EoL
Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia.
Bear Island WMA
                                                               SI Web
 

McCowan's Longspur



  McCowan's
  Longspur,

  Rhyncho-
  phanes
  mccownii
,
  Pawnee
  Natiional
  Grassland,
  CO
        Wiki     EoL

  Photo by
  Ed Kondon

White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
 
White-throated Sparrow,
Zonotrichia  albicollis
.  Donnelley WMA
                                              SI Web
Dark-eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis. Clemson
                                                         SI Web
  Saffron Finch    
 
Saffron Finch, Sicalis flaveola. Trincity, Trinidad
Photo by  Ed Kondon
                                       Wiki     EoL
   
 
  Family Coerebidae - Bananaquit
Wiki     EoL
  1 species, 1 genus (Coereba flaveola). Middle America and the Caribbean islands, south through tropical South America. This is a nine-primaried oscine with an uncertain placement (Passeroidea, incertae sedis). DNA evidence suggests it is related to a group including Darwin's finches, Tiaris (grassquits), Loxigilla, etc. -  normally placed with the emberizines but now believed to be part of the Thraupidae (tanagers). The AOU (2005) suggests that this is no longer a valid family.
   The Bananaquit is a small, active short-tailed and short legged bird. Its bill is relatively long, thin and decurved with fed fleshy corners at the gape. It has a brushlike tongue adapted for taking nectar (it may also pierce flowers from the side). It perches while feeding and will also eat fruit and insects. It is sometimes known as "sugar bird" because it visits feeding stations stocked with table sugar and becomes quite tame. The sexes are alike. The bird has dark upperparts, a yellow underneath, and a dark head with a prominent eye line and gray throat. There is some variation between islands in the Caribbean. Bananaquits are usually found in lowlands in open and semi-open habitats.
   They build globular nests. Both sexes build (males do the most). They usually lay 2 eggs which they incubate for 12-13 days. Young fledge in 17-19 days.
  Bananaquit Bananaquit, Coereba flaveola
Asa Wright Nature Center. Trinidad
Photo by   Ed Kondon
 
       
 
   
  Banner - western Dark-eyed Juncos. Estes Park, CO.