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10 September 2021 A family name for the Crested Shrikejay Platylophus galericulatus
Jimmy Gaudin, George Sangster, Murray D. Bruce
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Platylophus galericulatus (Cuvier, 1816) is a lowland forest bird found in southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra and Java. Its taxonomic placement has long puzzled systematists (e.g. Amadon 1944, Goodwin 1976). Comparisons of feather tracts and osteology led some to believe that it does not belong to the crows (Clench 1985, Hope 1989). Nevertheless, from the 1940s until recently Platylophus galericulatus was universally classified as a crow (Wolters 1977, Sibley & Monroe 1990, Clements 2007, Dickinson & Christidis 2014, Gill et al. 2021).

Recent molecular phylogenetic studies of Corvides have shown that Platylophus galericulatus is neither a true shrike (Laniidae) nor a corvid (Corvidae), and placed the species as the sister of the true shrikes (Jønsson et al. 2008, Aggerbeck et al. 2014, Oliveros et al. 2019); in a polytomy with two major clades that include Corvidae, Laniidae and several other groups (Jønsson et al. 2011); sister to Eurocephalus outside Laniidae and Corvidae (Jønsson et al. 2016, Fuchs et al. 2019); or sister to the birds-of-paradise (Paradisaeidae; Stervander et al. 2020). In rank-based taxonomy, it seems best to place Platylophus galericulatus in its own family.

Winkler et al. (2015), Oliveros et al. (2019), Irham & Kurniawan (2020) and Stervander et al. (2020) used the name Platylophidae, but this is a nomen nudum because no such name has been validly introduced. The ‘Platylophidae’ account in Winkler et al. (2015) listed P. galericulatus as its sole species and provided a description that might be construed as a diagnosis. However, these authors did not explicitly indicate the name as intentionally new, and it does not meet ICZN (1999) Art. 16.1. Oliveros et al. (2019), Irham & Kurniawan (2020) and Stervander et al. (2020) merely used the name ‘Platylophidae’ and did not make the name available.

The name Lophocittidae was listed by Bock (1994) as a family-group name based on Lophocitteae Kaup, 1855. The latter name is derived from the genus Lophocitta G. R. Gray, 1841, which is a junior synonym of Platylophus Swainson, 1832. However, Kaup's Lophocitteae and four other new family-group names attributed to Kaup (1855) by Bock (1994) were proposed as ‘Hauptgenera’ (i.e. Cisseae, Cyanocitteae, Cyanocoraceae, Keropieae). Kaup used his ‘Hauptgenera’ as divisions of a subfamily1. Consequently, Lophocitteae is a genus-group name rather than a family-group name.

Because no family-group name for P. galericulatus is available, we propose:

Platylophidae new family

  • Type genus: Platylophus Swainson, 1832

  • Diagnosis: Differs from Corvidae, Laniidae and Eurocephalus by a combination of (i) vestigial nasal bristles, (ii) long upstanding crest, (iii) white crescent on the sides of the neck, (iv) buff spots at the tips of the feathers of the underparts and wing-coverts in juveniles, and (v) only six feather tracts and 50 feathers on the back (vs. 8–13 feather tracts and 114–198 feathers in Corvidae, 8–10 feather tracts and 126–129 feathers in Laniidae; Clench 1985).

  • Remarks: Platylophus galericulatus has been called ‘Crested Jay' (e.g. Sibley & Monroe 1990, Madge & Burn 1994, Clements 2007, Dickinson & Christidis 2014), ‘Crested Shrikejay’ (Winkler et al. 2015) and ‘Jay Shrike’ (Eaton et al. 2016). The evidence of its phylogenetic relationships argues against the names Crested Jay and Jay Shrike because it is neither a jay nor a shrike. We believe the English name Crested Shrikejay is appropriate because it captures both the most pronounced morphological feature of the species and the ambiguity of its phylogenetic position (compare ‘Cuckooshrike’ for some members of Campephagidae).

  • Acknowledgements

    We are very grateful to Don Roberson for his help with literature; also Norbert Bahr, Neal Evenhuis and Laurent Raty for discussion of the interpretation of Kaup's Lophocitteae.



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    [1] 1 Kaup's philosophical approach to classification and the number five also supported the English Quinarian theory of classification, promoted by several ornithologists in the first half of the 19th century, but the methodology proved unpopular and Kaup was one of its last adherents (Bruce 2003: 24–25).

    © 2021 The Authors;
    Jimmy Gaudin, George Sangster, and Murray D. Bruce "A family name for the Crested Shrikejay Platylophus galericulatus," Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 141(3), 366-368, (10 September 2021).
    Received: 2 June 2021; Published: 10 September 2021
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