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Helmetshrike

Helmetshrikes
White-crested helmetshrike
Prionops plumatus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Vangidae
Genus: Prionops
Vieillot, 1816
Type species
Lanius plumatus[1]
Shaw, 1809

Helmetshrikes are a family uniting some smallish to mid-sized songbird species. They were included with the true shrikes in the family Laniidae, later on split between several presumably closely related groups such as bushshrikes (Malaconotidae) and cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae), but are now considered sufficiently distinctive to be separated from that group into the family Vangidae.

Description and ecology

This is an African group of species which are found in scrub or open woodland. They are similar in feeding habits to shrikes, hunting insects and other small prey from a perch on a bush or tree.

Although similar in build to the shrikes, these tend to be colourful species with the distinctive crests or other head ornaments, such as wattles, from which they get their name.

Helmetshrikes are noisy and sociable birds, some of which breed in loose colonies. They lay 2–4 eggs in neat, well-hidden nests.

Systematics

As the relationships of the shrike-like birds are increasingly disentangled, the helmetshrikes appear to form an evolutionary radiation with the Vangidae.

References

  1. ^ "Vangidae". aviansystematics.org. The Trust for Avian Systematics. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
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Helmetshrike
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