Hyliotidae – Hyliotas

Southern Hyliota Hyliota australis ©Adam Riley Website

The hyliotas are a single genera family of passerines from Africa. The taxonomic position of the genus has been a longstanding mystery. They have been formerly regarded as Old World warblers in the Sylviidae family, or related to the batises and wattle-eyes in the family Platysteiridae, bush-shrikes in the family Malaconotidae, or even Old-World flycatchers in the family Muscicapidae. An analysis of the mitochondrial DNA of the genus and possible relatives found they have no close relatives and are basal in the clade Passerida. Thus they are now regarded as a family in their own right; Hyliotidae.

They are found in the canopy of broad-leaf forests. They usually do not live in groups but will join mixed-species feeding flocks with other species. They are territorial and pairs are monogamous, nesting in camouflaged woven nests.

There are just four members of this newly delineated family formerly considered part of the Old World Warblers super family are all confined to Africa with three of the four wide ranging but the Usambara Hyliota endemic to Tanzania.

They are:

Yellow-bellied Hyliota Hyliota flavigaster
Southern Hyliota Hyliota australis
Usambara Hyliota Hyliota usambarae
Violet-backed Hyliota Hyliota violacea

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 4

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