Emberizidae

This large family contains birds known as Buntings in the Old World and (American) Sparrows in the New World. Other North American birds in this family are Juncos and Towhees. Hybridization has been documented in several genera. Intergeneric hybrids between Junco, Zonotrichia and Melospiza have been reported (Dickerman, 1961).

 

Ammodramus

Genetic analysis of the Sharp-tailed Sparrow showed two distinct groups (Rising & Avise, 1993), that were recognised as distinct species in 1995, namely Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow (A. nelsoni) and Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow (A. caudacutus). These species overlap and hybridize in southern Maine (Hodgman, Shriver & Vickery, 2002), which results in asymmetrical introgression (Shriver et al., 2005; Walsh et al., 2016b). This genetic exchange might result in adaptive introgression of genes that confer an advantage in the saltmarshes (Walsh et al., 2018). The hybrid zone is maintained by local environmental features and fits a mosaic hybrid zone model (Walsh et al., 2016a). Another study developed RFLP markers to detect hybrids (Walsh et al., 2011). Hybrids and backcrosses can be identified using genetic markers, in contrast to morphological features (Walsh et al., 2015). Also, detailed analysis of the population structure of A. caudacutus revealed five populations connected by gene flow (Walsh et al., 2012).

Sharp-tailed Sparrow

A Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow (A. nelsoni)

 

Apart from hybridization between Sharp-tailed Sparrows, Murray (1968) described a hybrid between Le Conte’s Sparrow (A. leconteii) and Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow. And in a captive breeding program, the now extinct Dusky Seaside Sparrow (A. maritimus nigricans) was crossed with a closely related subspecies, Scott’s Seaside Sparrow (A. m. peninsulae) (Zink & Kale, 1995).

Intergeneric hybrids between Grasshopper Sparrow (A. savannarum) and Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) have also been reported (Dickerman, 1968; Jones et al., 2003).

 

Arremon

An extensive study combining morphological, vocal, ecological and genetic data culminated in the recognition of eight species in the White-browed Brush-finch (A. torquatus) complex. Several of these species might be hybridizing (Cadena & Cuervo, 2010).

White-browed Brush-finch.jpg

A White-browed Brush-finch (Arremon torquatus)

 

Atlapetes

In the foothills of the Andes, Carantón‑Ayala et al. (2018) found a strange specimen of Brush finch (genus Atlapetes). Genetic data suggested that it is a hybrid between White-naped Brush finch (Atlapetes albinucha) and Dusky-headed Brush finch (Atlapetes fuscoolivaceus). The mitochondrial DNA of the hybrid, which is only transmitted through the female lineage, clustered with Dusky-headed Brush finch, indicating that this was the female parent. The nuclear DNA, on the other hand, pointed to White-naped Brush finch as the father. The morphological characteristics of the hybrid were in line with this conclusion.

brushfinch

(A) White-naped Brush finch (Atlapetes albinucha), (B) the hybrid, and (C) Dusky-headed Brush finch (Atlapetes fuscoolivaceus). – from Diego Carantón‑Ayala et al. (2018).

 

Emberiza

Yellowhammer (E. citronella) and Pine Bunting (E. leucocephalos) hybridize in Russia (Panov, Rubtsov & Monzikov, 2003a; Panov, Roubtsov & Monzikov, 2003b). Genetic analyses showed low divergence in mtDNA compared to nDNA, which could be attributed to recent divergence or introgression (Irwin, Rubtsov & Panov, 2009). The latter hypothesis (introgression) was indicated as more likely by a phylogenetic analysis which showed that these species are not sister species (Rubtsov & Opaev, 2012). Despite large morphological differences, both species produce indistinguishable territorial songs (Tietze, Wassmann & Martens, 2012).

Buntings.jpg

Yellowhammer (E. citronella) and Pine Bunting (E. leucocephalos)

 

A study on the vocal variation among three subspecies of the Reed Bunting (E. schoeniclus) uncovered a “hybrid zone” between E. s. schoeniclus and two southern subspecies (E. s. intermedia and E. s. witherbyi). This hybrid zone has not been confirmed by morphological or genetic data (Matessi, Pilastro & Marin, 2000). Playback experiments showed that different responses to songs from different subspecies: witherbyi and – to some extent lusitanica – males largely ignored schoeniclus songs, while schoeniclus males did not discriminate the songs of the different subspecies, reacting strongly to all. These results suggest some degree of premating isolation (de Oliveira Gordinho et al., 2016).

005448-Reed Bunting-Cutting

A Reed Bunting (E. schoeniclus)

 

A phylogenetic analysis of “African brown buntings” lacked reciprocal monophyly, possibly due to incomplete lineage sorting. The analysis revealed one hybrid specimen in the dataset (Olsson, Yosef & Alstrom, 2013). House Bunting (E. sahari) and Striolated Bunting (E. striolata) are considered to be distinct species. A phylogeographic study across the Saharo-Arabian range of these species revealed incongruence between mtDNA and morphology in certain populations. This pattern can be explained by incomplete lineage sorting or introgressive hybridization (Schweizer et al., 2017).

house bunting.jpg

A House Bunting (E. sahari)

 

Gholamhosseini et al. (2017) revisited a hybrid zone between Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala) and Red-headed Bunting (E. bruniceps) in northern Iran that has been studied by Paludan (1940) and Haffer (1977). The hybrid zone has expanded westward by approximately 170 km. From a climatic point of view, the Black-headed Bunting could occur farther to the east, but it doesn’t. Probably, it is out-competed by the Red-headed Bunting which might be expanding eastward due to land use changes by humans (i.e. deforestation and extension of agriculture).

black-headed-bunting.jpg

A Black-headed Bunting (E. melanocephala)

 

Junco

The Dark-eyed Junco (J. hyemalis) complex exemplifies a case of extremely rapid diversification. Several subspecies have been described and continue to hybridize in certain locations. This complex has been studied using molecular (Mila et al., 2007), morphological (Ferree, 2013) and vocal (Reichard, 2014) approaches, but remains largely problematic.

Intergeneric hybrids between Dark-eyed Junco and White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) have been described (Jung, Morton & Fleischer, 1994; Short & Simon, 1965; Townsend, 1883).

Dark-eyed Junco.jpg

A Dark-eyed Junco (J. hyemalis)

 

Melospiza

The Song Sparrow (M. melodia) complex comprises numerous (morphological) subspecies, but lacks genetic population structure (Zink & Dittmann, 1993). This complex can be regarded as a ring species around the Sierra Nevada and Mojave Desert (Patten & Pruett, 2009). The outer subspecies of this ring (heermanni and fallax) differ substantially in plumage, song and habitat use (Patten, Rotenberry & Zuk, 2004).

Song Sparrow.jpg

A Song Sparrow (M. melodia)

 

Passerella

Mitochondrial haplotypes of the Fox Sparrow (P. iliaca) fall into four distinct groups (Zink, 1994) of which two hybridize (megarhyncha and schistacea), although they are not sister clades (Zink & Weckstein, 2003). Microsatellites lack differentiation, which can be attributed to incomplete lineage sorting and hybridization (Zink, 2008).

Fox Sparrow.jpg

A Fox Sparrow (P. iliaca)

 

Pipilo

The hybrid zone between Spotted Towhee (P. maculatus) and Collared Towhee (P. ocai) in Mexico has been intensively studied from a morphological point of view (Sibley, 1950; Sibley, 1954; Sibley & Sibley, 1964; Sibley & West, 1958). Genomic analyses showed locus-specific patterns of introgression (Kingston et al., 2012Kingston et al., 2014; Kingston et al., 2017).

A hybrid between Abert’s Towhee (P. aberti) and Canyon Towhee (P. fuscus) has also been reported (Johnson & Hopp, 2010). These species are sometimes included in the genus Melozone.

Spotted Towhee.jpg

A Spotted Towhee (P. maculatus)

 

Spizella

Only two hybrids have been reported: a possible hybrid between Chipping Sparrow (S. passerina [in the paper called arizonae]) and  Clay-colored Sparrow (S. pallida) in Mexico (Parkes, 1990) and a  hybrid between Field Sparrow (S. pusilla) and Clay-colored Sparrow in Northern Vermont (Hoag, 1999).

Chipping Sparrow.jpg

Chipping Sparrow (S. passerina)

 

Zonotrichia

Several hybrid have been reported, such as Golden-crowned Sparrow (Z. atricapilla) x White-throated Sparrow (Z. albicollis), Harris’ Sparrow (Z. querula) x White-crowned Sparrow (Z. leucophrys), and Golden-crowned Sparrow x White-crowned Sparrow (Miller, 1940; Payne, 1979). Intergeneric hybrids between Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) and White-throated Sparrow have been described (Jung et al., 1994; Short & Simon, 1965; Townsend, 1883).

Phylogenetic relationships, based on mtDNA, are consistent with patterns of hybridization (Zink, Dittmann & Rootes, 1991), for example the hybridizing White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows possess nearly identical haplotypes. This result was questioned by another study which showed that these identical haplotypes may be the result of recent introgression (Weckstein et al., 2001).

Golden-crowned Sparrow.jpg

A Golden-crowned Sparrow (Z. atricapilla)

 

A study comparing gene flow of mtDNA and nDNA across an elevational gradient of Rufous-collared Sparrows (Z. capensis) populations found restricted gene flow of mtDNA, which may indicate selection against certain mitochondrial haplotypes (Cheviron & Brumfield, 2009).

Rufous-collared Sparrows.jpg

A Rufous-collared Sparrow (Z. capensis)

 

References

Cadena, C. D. & Cuervo, A. M. (2010). Molecules, ecology, morphology, and songs in concert: how many species is Arremon torquatus (Aves: Emberizidae)? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 99, 152-176.

Carantón‑Ayala D., Avendaño J.E., Cadena, C.D. (2018) Hybridization in brushfinches (Atlapetes , Emberizidae) from the southeast Andes of Colombia: a consequence of habitat disturbance? Journal of Ornithology

Cheviron, Z. A. & Brumfield, R. T. (2009). Migration-Selection Balance and Local Adaptation of Mitochondrial Haplotypes in Rufous-Collared Sparrows (Zonotrichia Capensis) Along an Elevational Gradient. Evolution 63, 1593-1605.

de Oliveira Gordinho, L., Hasselquist, D. & Neto, J.M. (2016) Asymmetric song recognition between recently diverged subspecies of reed bunting. Behavioural Ecology 5(1), 1413-1423.

Dickerman, R. W. (1961). Hybrids among the fringillid genera Junco-Zonotrichia and Melospiza. The Auk, 627-632.

Dickerman, R. W. (1968). A Hybrid Grasshopper Sparrow× Savannah Sparrow. The Auk, 312-315.

Ferree, E. D. (2013). Geographic Variation in Morphology of Dark-Eyed Juncos and Implications for Population Divergence. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 125, 454-470.

Gholamhosseini, A., Aliabadian, M., Darvish, J., Töpfer, T. & Sætre, G.-P. (2017). An Expanding Hybrid Zone between Black-Headed and Red-Headed Buntings in Northern Iran. Ardea 105, 27-36.

Haffer, J. (1977). Secondary contact zones of birds in northern Iran. Zoologisches Forschungsinstitut und Museum Alexander Koenig.

Hoag, D. J. (1999). Hybridization between Clay-colored sparrow and Field sparrow in northern Vermont. Wilson Bulletin 111, 581-584.

Hodgman, T. P., Shriver, W. G. & Vickery, P. D. (2002). Redefining range overlap between the Sharp-tailed Sparrows of coastal New England. Wilson Bulletin 114, 38-43.

Irwin, D. E., Rubtsov, A. S. & Panov, E. N. (2009). Mitochondrial introgression and replacement between yellowhammers (Emberiza citrinella) and pine buntings (Emberiza leucocephalos) (Aves: Passeriformes). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 98, 422-438.

Johnson, R. R. & Hopp, S. L. (2010). The First Reported Hybridization of Abert’s and Canyon Towhees (Pipilo spp.). Wilson Journal of Ornithology 122, 399-402.

Jones, A. L., Shriver, W. G., Bulgin, N. L., Lockwood, R. & Vickery, P. D. (2003). A probable grasshopper X savannah sparrow hybrid singing a song sparrow song. Wilson Bulletin 115, 231-236.

Jung, R. E., Morton, E. S. & Fleischer, R. C. (1994). Behavior and Parentage of a White-Throated Sparrow X Dark-Eyed Junco Hybrid. Wilson Bulletin 106, 189-202.

Kingston, S. E., Jernigan, R. W., Fagan, W. F., Braun, D. & Braun, M. J. (2012). Genomic variation in cline shape across a hybrid zone. Ecology and Evolution 2, 2737-2748.

Kingston, S. E., Navarro-Siguenza, A., Garcia-Trejo, E. A., Vazquez-Miranda, H., Fagan, W. F. & Braun, M. J. (2014). Genetic differentiation and habitat connectivity across towhee hybrid zones in Mexico. Evolutionary Ecology 28, 277-297.

Kingston, S. E., T. L. Parchman, Z. Gompert, C. A. Buerkle and M. J. Braun (2017). Heterogeneity and concordance in locus-specific differentiation and introgression between species of towhees. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 30(3): 474-485.

Matessi, G., Pilastro, A. & Marin, G. (2000). Variation in quantitative properties of song among European populations of reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) with respect to bill morphology. Canadian Journal of Zoology-Revue Canadienne De Zoologie 78, 428-437.

Mila, B., McCormack, J. E., Castaneda, G., Wayne, R. K. & Smith, T. B. (2007). Recent postglacial range expansion drives the rapid diversification of a songbird lineage in the genus Junco. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 274, 2653-2660.

Miller, A. H. (1940). A hybrid between Zonotrichia coronata and Zonotrichia leucophrys. Condor, 45-48.

Murray, B. G. (1968). Relationships of Sparrows in Genera Ammodramus Passerherbulus and Ammospiza with a Description of a Hybrid Le Contes X Sharp-Tailed Sparrow. Auk 85, 586-&.

Olsson, U., Yosef, R. & Alstrom, P. (2013). Assessment of species limits in African ‘brown buntings’ (Emberiza, Passeriformes) based on mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data. Ibis 155, 534-543.

Paludan, K. (1940). Contributions to the ornithology of Iran. Ejnar Munksgaard.

Panov, E., Rubtsov, A. & Monzikov, D. (2003a). Relationships between Two Species of Buntings (Emberiza citrinella and E. leucocephalos) Hybridizing in the Zones of Overlap of Their Ranges. Zool. Zh 82, 470-484.

Panov, E. N., Roubtsov, A. S. & Monzikov, D. G. (2003b). Hybridization between yellowhammer and pine bunting in Russia. Dutch Birding 25, 17-31.

Parkes, K. C. (1990). Additional Records of Birds from the Distrito Federal, Mexico, Including a Possible Hybrid Spizella. Condor 92, 1080-1081.

Patten, M. A. & Pruett, C. L. (2009). The Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia, as a ring species: patterns of geographic variation, a revision of subspecies, and implications for speciation. Systematics and Biodiversity 7, 33-62.

Patten, M. A., Rotenberry, J. T. & Zuk, M. (2004). Habitat selection, acoustic adaptation, and the evolution of reproductive isolation. Evolution 58, 2144-2155.

Payne, R. B. (1979). Two apparent hybrid Zonotrichia sparrows. The Auk, 595-599.

Reichard, D. G. (2014). Male Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis) Respond Differentially to Playback of Local and Foreign Song. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 126, 605-611.

Rising, J. D. & Avise, J. C. (1993). Application of Genealogical-Concordance Principles to the Taxonomy and Evolutionary History of the Sharp-Tailed Sparrow (Ammodramus-Caudacutus). Auk 110, 844-856.

Rubtsov, A. S. & Opaev, A. S. (2012). Phylogeny reconstruction of the yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) and pine bunting (Emberiza leucocephala) based on song and morphological characters. Biology Bulletin 39, 715-728.

Schweizer, M., H. Shirihai, H. Schmaljohann and G. M. Kirwan (2017). Phylogeography of the House Bunting complex: discordance between species limits and genetic markers. Journal of Ornithology 159, 47-61.

Short, L. L. & Simon, S. W. (1965). Additional hybrids of the Slate-colored Junco and the White-throated Sparrow. Condor, 438-442.

Shriver, W. G., Gibbs, J. P., Vickery, P. D., Gibbs, H. L., Hodgman, T. P., Jones, P. T. & Jacques, C. N. (2005). Concordance between morphological and molecular markers in assessing hybridization between sharp-tailed sparrows in New England. Auk 122, 94-107.

Sibley, C. G. (1950). Species formation in the red-eyed towhees of Mexico. University of California Press.

Sibley, C. G. (1954). Hybridization in the Red-Eyed Towhees of Mexico. Evolution 8, 252-290.

Sibley, C. G. & Sibley, F. C. (1964). Hybridization in the red-eyed towhees of Mexico: the populations of the southeastern plateau region. The Auk, 479-504.

Sibley, C. G. & West, D. A. (1958). Hybridization in the Red-Eyed Towhees of Mexico: The Eastern Plateau Populations. The Condor 60, 85-104.

Tietze, D. T., Wassmann, C. & Martens, J. (2012). Territorial song does not isolate Yellowhammers (Emberiza citrinella) from Pine Buntings (E. leucocephalos). Vertebrate Zoology 62, 113-122.

Townsend, C. (1883). Description of a hybrid sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis x Junco hyemalis). Bull. Nuttall Ornithol. Club 8, 78-80.

Walsh, J., Kovach, A. I., Babbitt, K. J. & O’Brien, K. M. (2012). Fine-Scale Population Structure and Asymmetrical Dispersal in an Obligate Salt-Marsh Passerine, the Saltmarsh Sparrow (Ammodramus Caudacutus). Auk 129, 247-258.

Walsh, J., Kovach, A. I., Lane, O. P., O’Brien, K. M. & Babbitt, K. J. (2011). Genetic Barcode Rflp Analysis of the Nelson’s and Saltmarsh Sparrow Hybrid Zone. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123, 316-322.

Walsh, J., Rowe, R. J., Olsen, B. J., Shriver, W. G. & Kovach, A. I. (2016a). Genotype-environment associations support a mosaic hybrid zone between two tidal marsh birds. Ecol Evol 6, 279-94.

Walsh, J., Shriver, W. G., Olsen, B. J. & Kovach, A. I. (2016b). Differential introgression and the maintenance of species boundaries in an advanced generation avian hybrid zone. BMC Evol Biol 16, 65.

Walsh, J., Shriver, W. G., Olsen, B. J., O’Brien, K. M. & Kovach, A. I. (2015). Relationship of phenotypic variation and genetic admixture in the Saltmarsh-Nelson’s sparrow hybrid zone. The Auk 132, 704-716.

Walsh, J., Kovach, A.I., Olsen, B.J., Shriver, W.G. & Lovette, I.J. (2018) Bidirectional adaptive introgression between two ecologically divergent sparrow species. Evolution.

Weckstein, J. D., Zink, R. M., Blackwell-Rago, R. C. & Nelson, D. A. (2001). Anomalous variation in mitochondrial genomes of White-crowned (Zonotrichia leucophrys) and Golden-crowned (Z-atricapilla) sparrows: Pseudogenes, hybridization, or incomplete lineage sorting? Auk 118, 231-236.

Zink, R. M. (1994). The Geography of Mitochondrial-DNA Variation, Population-Structure, Hybridization, and Species Limits in the Fox-Sparrow (Passerella-Iliaca). Evolution 48, 96-111.

Zink, R. M. (2008). Microsatellite and Mitochondrial DNA Differentiation in the Fox Sparrow. Condor 110, 482-492.

Zink, R. M. & Dittmann, D. L. (1993). Gene Flow, Refugia, and Evolution of Geographic-Variation in the Song Sparrow (Melospiza-Melodia). Evolution 47, 717-729.

Zink, R. M., Dittmann, D. L. & Rootes, W. L. (1991). Mitochondrial-DNA Variation and the Phylogeny of Zonotrichia. Auk 108, 578-584.

Zink, R. M. & Kale, H. W. (1995). Conservation Genetics of the Extinct Dusky Seaside Sparrow Ammodramus-Maritimus-Nigrescens. Biological Conservation 74, 69-71.

Zink, R. M. & Weckstein, J. D. (2003). Recent evolutionary history of the fox sparrows (Genus : Passerella). Auk 120, 522-527.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Emberizidae

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s