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Birds Guide


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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Vangidae
Swainson, 1831

The vangas are a group of little-known small to medium sized passerine birds restricted to Madagascar. Their relationship with other passerine groups is uncertain, but they seem most closely related to several other enigmatic African groups, such as helmetshrikes (Fuchs et al., 2004). Several of these species (including Van Dam's, Rufous and Sickle-billed) can be found in the Madagascar dry deciduous forests.

They are usually shrike-like, arboreal forest birds, feeding on reptiles, frogs and insects (but see below). Vangas' stick nests are built in trees They do not migrate.

Species list

Traditionally believed to be a small family of generally shrike-like birds, recent research has revealed that several taxa most similar in appearance and habits (and formerly considered to be) flycatchers or babblers are in fact vangas (Cibois et al. 1999, 2001; Yamagishi et al., 2001; Schulenberg, 2003).

Family: Vangidae

  • Red-tailed Vanga Calicalicus madagascariensis
    Red-shouldered Vanga Calicalicus rufocarpalis
    Rufous Vanga Schetba rufa
    Hook-billed Vanga Vanga curvirostris
    Lafresnaye's Vanga Xenopirostris xenopirostris
    Van Dam's Vanga Xenopirostris damii
    Pollen's Vanga Xenopirostris polleni
    Sickle-billed Vanga Falculea palliata
    White-headed Vanga Artamella viridis
    Chabert Vanga Leptopterus chabert
    Blue Vanga Cyanolanius madagascarinus
    Bernier's Vanga Oriolia bernieri
    Helmet Vanga Euryceros prevostii
    Tylas Vanga Tylas eduardi
    Coral-billed Nuthatch Vanga Hypositta corallirostris
    Short-toed Nuthatch Vanga Hypositta perdita
    Dark Newtonia, Newtonia amphichroa
    Common Newtonia, Newtonia brunneicauda
    Archbold's Newtonia, Newtonia archboldi
    Red-tailed Newtonia, Newtonia fanovanae
    Crossley's Babbler Vanga, Mystacornis crossleyi
    Ward's Flycatcher Vanga, Pseudobias wardi


  • Cibois, A.; Pasquet, E. & Schulenberg, T.S. (1999): Molecular systematics of the Malagasy babblers (Timaliidae) and Warblers (Sylviidae), based on cytochrome b and 16S rRNA sequences. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 13(3): 581-595. HTML abstract
  • Cibois, A.; Slikas, B.; Schulenberg, T.S. & Pasquet, E. (2001): An endemic radiation of Malagasy songbirds is revealed by mitochondrial DNA sequence data. Evolution 55(6): 1198-1206. PDF fulltext
  • Yamagishi, S.; Honda, M.; Eguchi, K. & Thorstrom, R. (2001): Extreme endemic radiation of the Malagasy Vangas (Aves: Passeriformes). J. Mol. Evol. 53(1): 39-46. HTML abstract
  • Schulenberg, T.S. (2003): The Radiations of Passerine Birds of Madagascar. In: Goodman, S.M. & Benstead, J.P. (eds.): The Natural History of Madagascar, p.1130-1134.
  • Fuchs, J.; Bowie, R.C.K.; Fjeldsa, J. & Pasquet, E. (2004): Phylogenetic relationships of the African bush-shrikes and helmet-shrikes (Passeriformes: Malaconotidae). Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 33(2): 428-439. HTML abstract

External links

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