The African warbler genus Hyliota as a lost lineage in the Oscine songbird tree: Molecular support for an African origin of the Passerida
The African genus Hyliota includes three or four species of warbler-like birds of uncertain phylogenetic affinities, as it has historically been placed in different avian families that are now known to represent unrelated lineages: Malaconotidae (bush-shrikes), Platysteiridae (batises and wattle-eyes), Muscicapidae (Old World flycatchers) and Sylviidae (Old-World Warblers). To assess the affinities of Hyliota we sequenced a mitochondrial protein-coding gene (ND2, 1018 bp) and a nuclear intron (myoglobin intron-2, 685 bp). Our analyses suggest that all previous hypotheses concerning the affinities of Hyliota are erroneous. Instead, Hyliota represents a basal branch in the Passerida radiation with no close relatives. Our results, which also include analyses of relationships among other of other atypical songbird genera, lend support to an African origin of the Passerida songbird radiation. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.