Arcanatoridae – Dapple-throat & Allies

Dapple-throat Arcanator orostruthus ©USFWS Website

Arcanatoridae is a family of just three birds that includes the Dapple-throat.

They were formerly included in Promeropidae until recent DNA studies confirmed their status as related, but a separate family. They are sister to the sugarbirds, both are basal Passeroidea.

The dapple-throat or dappled mountain-robin Arcanator orostruthus is found in Mozambique and Tanzania; the spot-throat Modulatrix stictigula is found in northern Malawi and Tanzania; the grey-chested babbler Kakamega poliothorax, also known as the grey-chested illadopsis, is found in Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda. Their natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. All three are threatened by habitat loss, although the later, being widespread, is less vulnerable.

They are:

Dapple-throat Arcanator orostruthus

Spot-throat Modulatrix stictigula

Grey-chested Kakamega (Grey-chested Babbler) Kakamega poliothorax

Species Links
  • Dapple-throat Arcanator orostruthus

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Dapple-throat Arcanator orostruthus

    HBW Species Account
    Taxonomy: Phyllastrephus orostruthus Vincent, 1933, Mount Namuli, Mozambique. Affinities uncertain. Frequently placed in genus Modulatrix, but thought not to belong in present family; has been considered to be a bulbul (Pycnonotidae) or a chat (Turdidae), but recent ­molecular studies suggest that it is closest to the sugarbirds (Promeropidae). Further research needed. Three subspecies recognized.
  • Dapple-throat Arcanator orostruthus

    IUCN Species Status
    17 cm. Medium-sized, drab robin of forest. Olive-brown upper parts. Paler, lemon yellow, broadly spotted underparts. Slender bill has pale base. Rusty tinge on outer tail.
  • Dapple-throat Arcanator orostruthus

    IUCN Species Status
    17 cm. Medium-sized, drab robin of forest. Olive-brown upper parts. Paler, lemon yellow, broadly spotted underparts. Slender bill has pale base. Rusty tinge on outer tail.
  • Dapple-throat Arcanator orostruthus

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map
  • Dapple-throat Arcanator orostruthus

    Species Account
    The dapple-throat or dappled mountain-robin (Arcanator orostruthus) is a species of bird in the Arcanatoridae family. It is found in Mozambique and Tanzania. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.
  • Grey-chested Kakamega Kakamega poliothorax

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Grey-chested Kakamega Kakamega poliothorax

    HBW Species Account
    Taxonomy: Alethe poliothorax Reichenow, 1900, Bangwa [c. 5°15' N 10°25' E], Cameroon. Affinities uncertain. Has been placed in genus Malacocincla, and possibly belongs in Modulatrix; recent molecular research indicates possible relationship with the sugarbirds (Promeropidae), whereas some evidence suggests that it may belong in the thrush family (Turdidae). More study needed. Despite fragmented distribution, geographical variation virtually non-existent. Monotypic.
  • Grey-chested Kakamega Kakamega poliothorax

    IUCN Species Status
    The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be scarce to common (Fry and Keith 2004).
  • Grey-chested Kakamega Kakamega poliothorax

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map
  • Grey-chested Kakamega Kakamega poliothorax

    Species Account
    The grey-chested babbler (Kakamega poliothorax), also known as the grey-chested illadopsis, is a species of bird in the Arcanatoridae family. It is the only species in its genus. It is found in Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.
  • Spot-throat Modulatrix stictigula

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Spot-throat Modulatrix stictigula

    HBW Species Account
    Taxonomy: Turdinus stictigula Reichenow, 1906, Mbaramo, Usambara, Tanzania. Affinities uncertain. Thought not to be belong in present family; has been considered to belong with the bulbuls (Pycnonotidae) or the thrushes (Turdidae), but recent molecular studies suggest that it is closest to the sugarbirds (Promeropidae). Further research needed. Proposed race pressa (from S of range) considered undiagnosable, as characters on which it was based (and others, more recently used) are not apparent in large series of specimens. Treated as monotypic.
  • Spot-throat Modulatrix stictigula

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map
  • Spot-throat Modulatrix stictigula

    Species Account
    The spot-throat (Modulatrix stictigula) is a species of bird in the Arcanatoridae family. It is found in northern Malawi and Tanzania. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.

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