Speckled mousebird Colius striatus, photographed by Jerry Friedman.

Belongs within: Anomalogonatae.

The Coliiformes include the colies or mousebirds, small long-tailed arboreal birds found in sub-Saharan Africa. Though a small group in the modern fauna, represented only by the two genera Colius and Urocolius (treated by some authors as a single genus), fossil representatives of the Coliiformes are known from the Palaeogene of Europe and North America (Mayr 2005).

Synapomorphies (from Mayr 2005): Ulna with very large cotyla ventralis; distal end of femur thickened with large tuberculum musculi gastrocnemialis lateralis; tibiotarsus with both cristae cnemiales and crista patellaris forming continuous ridge circumscribing groove on cranial side of bone, crista cnemialis cranialis continuous with ridge opposite crista fibularis; tarsometatarsus with fossa metatarsi I situated on medial side of shaft; proximal phalanges of fourth toe strongly abbreviated.

    |--Sandcoleidae [Sandcoleiformes] M05
    |    |--Sandcoleus Houde & Olson 1992 M05
    |    |--Anneavis Houde & Olson 1992 M05
    |    `--Eoglaucidium Fischer 1987 M05, M02
    |         `--*E. pallas Fischer 1987 M02
    `--Coliidae M05
         |--+--Eocolius walkeri Dyke & Waterhouse 2001 M05
         |  `--Selmes Peters 1999 M05, M02
         |       `--*S. absurdipes Peters 1999 M02
         `--+--Masillacolius Mayr & Peters 1998 M05, M02
            |    `--*M. brevidactylus Mayr & Peters 1998 M02
            `--+--Oligocolius Mayr 2000 M05
               |    `--*O. brevitarsus Mayr 2000 M02
               |--Primocolius Mourer-Chauviré 1988 M05
               |    |--*P. sigei Mourer-Chauviré 1988 M02
               |    `--P. minor Mourer-Chauviré 1988 M02
               `--+--Urocolius Bonaparte 1854 M05, M02 (see below for synonymy)
                  |    |--U. archiaci (Milne-Edwards 1871) (see below for synonymy) M02
                  |    |--U. indicus HK08 [=U. macrourus indicus KK05]
                  |    `--U. macrourus KK05 [=Colius macrourus FP64]
                  `--Colius Brisson 1760 M05, M02 [incl. Necrornis Milne-Edwards 1871 M02]
                       |--C. colius HK08
                       |--C. hendeyi Rich & Haarhoff 1985 B93
                       |--C. palustris (Milne-Edwards 1871) [=*Necrornis palustris] M02
                       `--C. striatus EA06
                            |--C. s. striatus S05
                            `--C. s. leucotis Rüppell 1839 S05

Urocolius Bonaparte 1854 M05, M02 [incl. Limnatornis Milne-Edwards 1871 M02, Palaeopicus Brodkorb 1952 M02]

Urocolius archiaci (Milne-Edwards 1871) [=Picus archiaci, Colius archiaci, *Palaeopicus archiaci; incl. Picus consobrinus Milne-Edwards 1871, Pa. consobrinus, *Limnatornis paludicola Milne-Edwards 1871, Colus paludicola] M02

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B93] Brooke, R. K. 1993. Annotated catalogue of the Aves type specimens in the South African Museum. Annals of the South African Museum 102 (10): 327-349.

[EA06] Ericson, P. G. P., C. L. Anderson, T. Britton, A. Elzanowski, U. S. Johansson, M. Källersjö, J. I. Ohlson, T. J. Parsons, D. Zuccon & G. Mayr. 2006. Diversification of Neoaves: integration of molecular sequence data and fossils. Biology Letters 2 (4): 543-547.

[FP64] Fisher, J., & R. T. Peterson. 1964. The World of Birds: A comprehensive guide to general ornithology. Macdonald: London.

[HK08] Hackett, S. J., R. T. Kimball, S. Reddy, R. C. K. Bowie, E. L. Braun, M. J. Braun, J. L. Chojnowski, W. A. Cox, K.-L. Han, J. Harshman, C. J. Huddleston, B. D. Marks, K. J. Miglia, W. S. Moore, F. H. Sheldon, D. W. Steadman, C. C. Witt & T. Yuri. 2008. A phylogenomic study of birds reveals their evolutionary history. Science 320: 1763-1768.

[KK05] Kloet, R. S. de, & S. R. de Kloet. 2005. The evolution of the spindlin gene in birds: sequence analysis of an intron of the spindlin W and Z gene reveals four major divisions of the Psittaciformes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36: 706-721.

[M05] Mayr, G. 2005. The Paleogene fossil record of birds in Europe. Biological Reviews 80: 515-542.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[SO03] Sorenson, M. D., E. Oneal, J. García-Moreno & D. P. Mindell. 2003. More taxa, more characters: The hoatzin problem is still unresolved. Molecular Biology and Evolution 20 (9): 1484-1499.

[S05] Steinheimer, F. D. 2005. Eduard Rüppel’s avian types at the Natural History Museum, Tring (Aves). Senckenbergiana Biologica 85 (2): 233-264.

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