Systematists have not often made use of avian vocalizations to assess the taxonomic rank of birds, or to infer their phylogenetic relationships. The likely reasons for this stem from the perceived inability to distinguish genetic and ecological components of variation in vocalizations, the difficulty in detecting homology across taxa, as well as the diverse selection pressures acting on vocal characters which may make such characters particularly prone to convergent evolution. In this study, we scored and analysed DNA and vocal characters of two delineated assemblages of gamebirds, francolins and spurfowls. Our phylogenetic results suggest that short strophes evolved from longer strophes among taxa within the genera Scleroptila and Peliperdix. More generally, our results corroborate the francolin-spurfowl dichotomy, with francolin calls generally being long and tonal, containing a series of discrete elements that have detectable harmonics. In contrast, most spurfowls render short, atonal calls with elements that generally have no harmonics, although they may contain discrete elements. Phylogenetically, Ortygornis sephaena is placed with ‘true’ francolins and its closest relatives are the two phylogenetically enigmatic Asian francolins, the grey francolin, Ortygornis pondicerianus, and swamp francolin, O. gularis.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 49 • No. 1