The world’s largest bird family just got one bigger, now about 415 species.
The enigmatic Kinglet Calyptura, best known from specimens over a hundred years old, seems to be close to extinction in the wet forests of southeastern Brazil. It’s been long touted as an example of the bizarre diversity within the neotropical suboscine family Cotingidae – with some of the largest, smallest, loudest, quietest, most colorful, and most drab members of the order Passeriformes. But a paper just published in the July 2012 issue of Ibis reveals that DNA analyzed from a very old specimen shows that its closest relatives are in the family Tyrannidae – namely, the spadebills (Platyrinchus) and the Cinnamon Manakin-Tyrant (Neopipo cinnamomea).
Jan Ohlson, Martin Irestedt, Jon Fjeldså, and Per G. P. Ericson. July 2012. Nuclear DNA from a 180-year-old study skin reveals the phylogenetic position of the Kinglet Calyptura Calyptura cristata (Passeriformes: Tyrannides). Ibis Vol. 154, Issue 3, pages 533-541. First published online 21 June, 2012.