World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Phasianidae

Phasianidae
Temporal range: Oligocene-Recent, 30–0 Ma
Є
O
S
D
C
P
T
J
K
Pg
N
Satyr tragopan
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Clade: Dinosauria
Clade: Ornithurae
Clade: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Superfamily: Phasianoidea
Family: Phasianidae
Horsfield, 1821
Type species
Phasianus colchicus
Linnaeus, 1758
Genera

The Phasianidae are a family of birds which includes pheasants, partridges, junglefowl, chickens, Old World quail, and peafowl.[1] The family is a large one, and is occasionally broken up into two subfamilies, the Phasianinae, and the Perdicinae. Sometimes, additional families and birds are treated as being in this family, as well, for example, the American Ornithologists' Union includes Tetraonidae (grouses), Numididae (guineafowls), and Meleagrididae (turkeys) in Phasianidae as subfamilies.

Contents

  • Systematics and evolution 1
  • Description 2
  • Distribution and habitat 3
  • Behaviour and ecology 4
  • Relationship with humans 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Systematics and evolution

The clade Phasianidae is the largest of the branch Galliformes, comprising more than 150 species. This group includes the pheasants and partridges, junglefowl chickens, quail and peafowl. Turkeys and grouse have also been recognized as having their origins in the pheasant and partridge like birds.

Until the early 1990s, this family was broken up into two subfamilies: the Phasianinae, including pheasants, tragopans, junglefowls, and peafowls;[2] and the Perdicinae, including partridges, Old World quails, and francolins.[3] Molecular phylogenies have shown that these two subfamilies are not each monophyletic but actually constitute only one lineage with one common ancestor.[4][5] For example, some partridges (genus Perdix) are more closely affiliated to pheasants, whereas Old World quails and partridges from the genus Alectoris are closer to junglefowls.[4][5]

The earliest fossil records of phasianids date to the late Oligocene epoch, about 30 million years ago.[6]

A tentative list of the subfamilies of Phasianidae was:[4]

Description

Phasianids are terrestrial. They range in weight from 43 g (1.5 oz) in the case of the king quail to 6 kg (13 lb) in the case of the Indian peafowl. If turkeys are included, rather than classified as a separate family, then the considerably heavier wild turkey reaches a maximum weight of more than 17 kg (37 lb). Length in this taxonomic family can vary from 12.5 cm (4.9 in) in the king quail up to 300 cm (120 in) (including elongated tail streamers) in green peafowl, thus they beat even the true parrots in length diversity within a family of birds.[1][7] There is generally sexual dimorphism in size, with males tending to be larger than females. They are generally plump, with broad relatively short wings and strong legs. Many have a spur on their legs, a feature shared only with guineafowl and turkeys. The bill is short and generally strong, particularly in species that dig for food. Males of the larger species often have brightly coloured plumage as well as facial ornaments such as wattles or crests.

Distribution and habitat

Phasianidae is an Old World family, with a distribution that includes most of Europe and Asia (except the far north), all of Africa except the driest deserts and down into much of eastern Australia and (formerly) New Zealand. The greatest diversity of species is in Southeast Asia and Africa. The Congo peacock is specific to the African Congo. The subfamily, Perdicinae has a much more widespread distribution. Within their range they occupy almost every available habitat except for the boreal forests and tundra.

The family is generally sedentary and resident, although some quails undertake long migrations. Several species in the family have been widely introduced around the world, particularly pheasants which have been introduced to Europe, Australia and the Americas. Captive populations of peacocks and chickens have also escaped and become feral.

Behaviour and ecology

The pheasants and partridges have a varied diet, with foods taken ranging from purely vegetarian diets of seeds, leaves, fruits, tubers and roots, to small animals including insects, insect grubs and even small reptiles. Most species either specialise in feeding on plant matter or are predatory, although the chicks of most species are insectivorous.

In addition to the variation in diet there is a considerable amount of variation in breeding strategies among the Phasianidae. Compared to birds in general there is a large number of species that do not engage in monogamy (the typical breeding system of most birds). The francolins of Africa and some partridges are reportedly monogamous, but polygamy has been reported in the pheasants and junglefowl, some quail, and the breeding displays of peacocks have been compared to those of a lek. Nesting usually occurs on the ground; only the tragopans nest higher up in stumps of bushes. Nests can vary from mounds of vegetation to slight scrapes in the ground. As many as 18 eggs can be laid in the nest, although 7-12 is the more usual number, with smaller numbers in tropical species. Incubation is almost always performed by the female only, and last from 14–30 days depending on the species.

Relationship with humans

Several species of pheasant and partridge are extremely important to humans. The red junglefowl of Southeast Asia is the wild ancestor of the domesticated chicken, the most important bird in agriculture. Ring-necked pheasants, several partridge and quail species and some francolins have been widely introduced and managed as game birds for hunting. Several species are threatened by human activities.

References

  1. ^ a b McGowan, P. J. K. (1994). "Family Phasianidae (Pheasants and Partridges)". In del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A.; Sargatal, J. New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Handbook of the Birds of the World 2. Lynx Edicions. pp. 434–479.  
  2. ^ Johnsgard, P. A. (1986). The Pheasants of the World. Oxford University Press. 
  3. ^ Johnsgard, P. A. (1988). The Quails, Partridges, and Francolins of the World. Oxford University Press. 
  4. ^ a b c Kimball, R. T.; Braun, E. L.; Zwartjes, P. W.; Crowe, T. M.; Ligon, J. D. (1999). "A molecular phylogeny of the pheasants and partridges suggests that these lineages are not monophyletic". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 11 (1): 38–54.  
  5. ^ a b Kimball, Rebecca T.; Braun, Edward L. (2014). "Does more sequence data improve estimates of galliform phylogeny? Analyses of a rapid radiation using a complete data matrix". PeerJ: e361.  
  6. ^ Mayr, G.; Poshmann, M.; Wuttke, M. (2006). "A nearly complete skeleton of the fossil galliform bird Palaeortyx from the late Oligocene of Germany". Acta Ornithologica 41 (2): 129–135.  
  7. ^ Harper, D. 1986. Pet Birds for Home and Garden. London: Salamander Books Ltd.

External links

  • Phasianidae videos on the Internet Bird Collection
  • Phasianidae at DMOZ
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.