Phylogenetic relationships of the Zigzag Heron (Zebrilus undulatus) and White-crested Bittern (Tigriornis leucolophus) estimated by DNA-DNA Hybridization

Frederick H. Sheldon, Kevin G. Mccracken, Keeley D. Stuebing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recently, we acquired DNA of two rare species of heron, the Neotropical Zigzag Heron (Zebrilus undulatus) and the African White-crested Bittern (Tigriornis leucolophus). To estimate their phylogenetic relationships to other herons, we compared these species with representatives of the major heron clades using DNA-DNA hybridization. Even though the Zigzag Heron resembles a tiger-heron in its barred plumage and forest habitat, it is most closely related to bitterns. The White-crested Bittern is monophyletic with the New World tiger-herons (Tigrisoma) and, thus, is better termed the White-crested Tiger-Heron. These findings accord well with phylogenetic analyses based on osteology. The remaining uncertainties in higher-level heron phylogeny are principally: (1) the position and composition of some enigmatic genera (e.g. Gorsachius, Agamia, Pilberodius, and Ardeola); and (2) the identification of the basal heron lineage, which appears to be either tiger-herons or the Boat- billed Heron (Cochlearius).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)672-679
Number of pages8
JournalAuk
Volume112
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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