Elachuridae – Spotted Wren-babbler

Spotted Wren-babbler Elachura formosa ©Per Alström et al Website

In 2014 a group of ornithologists led by Dr Trevor Price of the University of Chicago described a new family of birds found in China, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Based on analysis of one of the most comprehensive datasets to date of Passerida, the largest passerine bird group, Dr Price and his colleagues identified nine primary lineages (Sylvioidea, Muscicapoidea, Certhioidea, Passeroidea, the bombycillids, Paridae/Remizidae, Stenostiridae, Hyliotidae, Regulidae), and a relict lineage represented by the Spotted wren-babbler. It was previously included in the genus Spelaeornis as Spelaeornis formosus along with eight other species of wren-babblers.

It is represented by just one species:

Spotted Wren-babbler Elachura formosa.

Species Links
  • Spotted Wren-Babbler Elachuridae

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Spotted Wren-Babbler Elachuridae

    HBW Species Account
    T[roglodytes]. formosus Walden, 1874, Darjeeling, India.Commonly placed in genus Spelaeornis; possibly closer to Pnoepyga. However, a recent molecular study suggests that this species represents a relict basal lineage within the clade Passerida, with no close extant relatives, the name Elachuridae having been proposed for a new, monotypic family. Recently discovered population in Indochina (Laos) apparently lacks white spotting on throat and breast, and may represent a separate race. Currently treated as monotypic.
  • Spotted Wren-babbler Elachura formosa

    Species Account
    The spotted elachura or spotted wren-babbler (Elachura formosa) is a species of passerine bird found in the forests of the eastern Himalayas and Southeast Asia. In the past it was included in the babbler genus Spelaeornis as S. formosus, but molecular phylogenetic studies in 2014 provided evidence that it was distinct from the babblers and part of a basal lineage (one that diverged early) with no other close living relatives within the passerine bird clade Passerida. This led to the creation of a new family, Elachuridae, to accommodate just one species (a monotypic taxon).

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