Date: 1/12/18 8:10 pm
From: Robert O'Brien <baro...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) phylogeny
OK, I lied. Again. By pure coincidence I just came across
this very interesting Riflebird (a species I mentioned) article on Tweeters.
Image e.
I spent well over an hour in Australia trying for a representative photo
of the male high overhead. In the end I had to piece together parts of
several
different photos trying to show the spectacular blue iridescence as well as
the
very differently patterned female. * The black was easy to photograph. *
*But I didn't realize how black it was*. (attached photo). Notice it
foraging
woodpecker-like, successfully, in partially decomposing wood (this morsel
pasted in also).

https://www.forbes.com/sites/grrlscientist/2018/01/11/
fifty-shades-of-black-these-bird-feathers-are-the-darkest-
never-seen/#5fa91f02392b



On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 7:04 PM, Robert O'Brien <baro...> wrote:

> OK, To avoid the further *Wrath of Joel*, I'll let this
> thread die. (Mercifully). Bob
>
> On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 6:40 PM, Nathaniel Wander <nw105...>
> wrote:
>
>> I didn't mean this as a game, let alone by Monty Python rules.
>>
>> Sir Bedemere: “What do you do with witches?”
>>
>> “Villagers: Burn ‘em!”
>>
>> SB: “And what do you burn apart from witches?’
>>
>> Vs: “More witches.” “Wood.”
>>
>> SB: “So, why do witches burn?”
>>
>> Vs:“Cause they’re made of wood?”
>>
>> SB: “Good. So how do we tell whether she is made of wood?”
>>
>> Vs: “Build a bridge out of her.”
>>
>> SB: “But can you not build a bridge out of stone?”
>>
>> Vs: “Uh, yeah.”
>>
>> SB: “Does wood sink in water?”
>>
>> Vs: “No.” “No.” “It floats.” “It floats.” “Throw her in the pond.”
>>
>> SB: “What also floats in water?”
>>
>> Vs: “Bread.” “Apples.” “Very small rocks.” “Cider.” Grape gravy.”
>> “Cherries.” “Mud.” “Churches.” “Lead.”
>>
>> King Arthur interjects authoritatively: “A duck!”
>>
>> SB: “Exactly. So, logically …?”
>>
>> Vs: “If she weighs the same as a duck … she’s made of wood.”
>>
>> SB: “And, therefore …?”
>>
>> Vs: “A witch!”
>>
>> Nathaniel Wander
>> Portland, OR
>>
>> *Max Planck* is supposed to have said:
>> A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and
>> making them see the light, but rather because its opponents
>> eventually die
>> and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
>> *Andreas Wagner* observed of Planck's remark:
>> Science, like nature, advances one funeral at a time. (*Arrival of the
>> Fittest*, p.197)
>>
>>
>> On Friday, January 12, 2018, 5:50:58 PM PST, roger freeman <
>> <carrotguy55...> wrote:
>>
>>
>> Now, this is fun!
>>
>> Roger Freeman
>>
>> On Friday, January 12, 2018, Robert O'Brien <baro...> wrote:
>>
>> Oh boy. Them's fightin' words....................
>>
>> What I meant to say is that Brown Creeper is about the closest thing*
>> _we have here_*
>> to a woodpecker. Of course, my statement was more general than that, but
>> I'll still defend it.
>> If there is something closer in Oregon/US to woodpeckers I want to learn
>> what it is.
>>
>> We don't have a whole lot of trunk-feeding birds here. Off the top of my
>> head we have woodpeckers,
>> creepers, and nuthatches. (Tits, kinglets, some warblers and maybe some
>> others sometimes feed in trunk crevices
>> but not habitually). Woodpeckers and creepers have stiffened, elongated
>> central feathers
>> (as the roosting photo shows). These are used in balancing these two
>> families for their lives
>> against vertical or flat surfaces, often or always against tree trunks.
>> they roost in a similar fashion.
>> Nuthatches do not have such tail feathers. I'm not sure where they roost.
>>
>> Woodpeckers have heads/bills adapted to pounding into softer wood while
>> creepers
>> don't. Woodpeckers usually have two toes forward and two behind while
>> creepers have the usual
>> 3:1 structure. Yet woodpeckers, especially the smaller ones, feed very
>> often in bark crevices just as creepers do.
>> While creepers don't excavate true holes as woodpeckers often do, they
>> usually nest along tree trunks
>> as well; usually under pieces of loose bark, but are not above nesting in
>> existing cavities of a sort and even clean
>> them out of debris or loose/rotted wood as woodpeckers do.
>>
>> I didn't say they were phylogenetic (direct) descendents of woodpeckers
>> or a common ancestor.
>> There is evolution, and there is *_convergent evolution_* of which I
>> claimed the latter.
>> That is, they have evolved from different original families to occupy a
>> similar habitat and lifestyle
>> to another family's descendents. (Cacti & euphorbias are totally
>> unrelated family-wise, but
>> have evolved similar structures and habitats (succulent, drought
>> tolerant, thorns, supressed or absent leaves, etc.).
>> Their different upbringing is given away by their totally different
>> flowers, however.)
>>
>> Another example. Australia has no woodpeckers at all. The closest thing
>> that continent has is Riflebirds,
>> specifically in my experience, Paradise Riflebird, a flicker-sized bird
>> with a (very strong in this case)
>> decurved bill like Brown Creeper's miniature bill. It lacks the central,
>> stiff tail feathers, it's tail more like
>> a nuthatch. Like Creepers, this species has no phylogenetic
>> relationship to woodpeckers but has
>> evolved similar habits such as foraging in rotting wood.
>>
>> http://www.australianwildlife. org/wildlife/paradise- riflebird.aspx
>> <http://www.australianwildlife.org/wildlife/paradise-riflebird.aspx>
>>
>> The Wallcreeper of Eurasia has a similar clinging lifestyle as their name
>> implies, but they also
>> lack the central tail feathers with tails like nuthatches to which they
>> are sometimes thought to be
>> related. They're still working on evolving that feature I guess. They
>> have no plans to
>> evolve bills capable to boring into rocky cliffs, their preferred habitat.
>>
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Wallcreeper
>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallcreeper>
>>
>> So there (hee, hee; how do ya' like them apples?).
>>
>> Bob
>>
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 10:33 AM, Nathaniel Wander <nw105...>
>> wrote:
>>
>> While I’m guessing that Bob O’Brien offered the remark that Brown
>> Creepers were the “about the closest thing that you can get to a
>> woodpecker” in an act of kindness to lighten the mood and “spare the
>> blushes” of an honest mis-identification, they are, of course, nothing of
>> the sort. Creepers (treecreepers in the Old World) are songbirds: they
>> don’t look like woodpeckers, they don’t behave like woodpeckers and they
>> have no near phylogenetic relationship to woodpeckers. Their one
>> interesting connection to woodpeckers is that they compete with and defend
>> territories against Redheaded Woodpeckers (*Melanerpes erythrocephalus*)
>> in eastern North America. Even still, they prefer arachnids to insects and
>> eat seeds in winter.
>>
>> Brown Creepers’ closest relatives are the as many as ten treecreeper
>> species in Europe and Asia. After that, they appear to be most closely
>> related to gnatcatchers and are considered general kin to wrens—these
>> species comprise the family Certhioidea. There are thought to be about six
>> to nine races of Brown Creepers in North America, not counting a few
>> Mexican races that reach the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico. The
>> details of their relationships have been much debated. In the past the
>> North American birds have sometimes been divided into three or four
>> discrete species, sometimes even lumped with the Eurasian Treecreeper (*C
>> familiaris*). There was a proposal before the AOS last spring to divide
>> the present single New World species into a North American species
>> (exclusive of the highland Arizona/New Mexico populations) and a
>> Mexican/Central American species (including highland Arizona/New Mexico
>> populations) possibly to be named Nearctic Creeper and Neotropical Creeper
>> respectively. I can’t see that it has been voted on yet.
>>
>> Otherwise, creepers feed on tree trunks by poking beneath bark flakes
>> rather than boring holes like woodpeckers. They are not cavity nesters,
>> but weavers. They communicate via high pitched calls and songs, not
>> drumming and they are cryptically colored rather than boldly marked. They
>> take insects but prefer arachnids and, of course, their prey range is
>> generally significantly smaller than that of woodpeckers: I’ve found no
>> evidence that they consume ants.
>>
>> It may be that Bob wasn’t genially joking, but was thinking of
>> woodcreepers (Dendrocolaptinae) rather than creepers/treecreepers. These
>> 50-60 odd Central/S American forest birds fall in the woodpecker size range
>> and have some evolutionarily convergent features with the latter including
>> stiff tails which they use woodpecker-like as an important point of contact
>> in shimmying up tree trunks. Woodcreepers generally have heavy bills, but
>> use them for bark-probing like creepers/treecreepers rather than boring
>> like woodpeckers. Their generally cryptic coloration is also sometimes
>> said to be convergent with creepers/treecreepers. Woodcreepers too are
>> passerines, though suboscines (like flycatchers) rather than ‘true’ oscine
>> songbirds. Suboscine songs are generally less complex than those of oscine
>> songbirds and typically are acquired genetically rather than learned.
>>
>>
>> Nathaniel Wander
>> Portland, OR
>>
>> *Max Planck* is supposed to have said:
>> A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and
>> making them see the light, but rather because its opponents
>> eventually die
>> and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
>> *Andreas Wagner* observed of Planck's remark:
>> Science, like nature, advances one funeral at a time. (*Arrival of the
>> Fittest*, p.197)
>>
>>
>> On Friday, January 12, 2018, 5:50:58 PM PST, roger freeman <
>> <carrotguy55...> wrote:
>>
>>
>> Now, this is fun!
>>
>> Roger Freeman
>>
>> On Friday, January 12, 2018, Robert O'Brien <baro...> wrote:
>>
>> Oh boy. Them's fightin' words....................
>>
>> What I meant to say is that Brown Creeper is about the closest thing*
>> _we have here_*
>> to a woodpecker. Of course, my statement was more general than that, but
>> I'll still defend it.
>> If there is something closer in Oregon/US to woodpeckers I want to learn
>> what it is.
>>
>> We don't have a whole lot of trunk-feeding birds here. Off the top of my
>> head we have woodpeckers,
>> creepers, and nuthatches. (Tits, kinglets, some warblers and maybe some
>> others sometimes feed in trunk crevices
>> but not habitually). Woodpeckers and creepers have stiffened, elongated
>> central feathers
>> (as the roosting photo shows). These are used in balancing these two
>> families for their lives
>> against vertical or flat surfaces, often or always against tree trunks.
>> they roost in a similar fashion.
>> Nuthatches do not have such tail feathers. I'm not sure where they roost.
>>
>> Woodpeckers have heads/bills adapted to pounding into softer wood while
>> creepers
>> don't. Woodpeckers usually have two toes forward and two behind while
>> creepers have the usual
>> 3:1 structure. Yet woodpeckers, especially the smaller ones, feed very
>> often in bark crevices just as creepers do.
>> While creepers don't excavate true holes as woodpeckers often do, they
>> usually nest along tree trunks
>> as well; usually under pieces of loose bark, but are not above nesting in
>> existing cavities of a sort and even clean
>> them out of debris or loose/rotted wood as woodpeckers do.
>>
>> I didn't say they were phylogenetic (direct) descendents of woodpeckers
>> or a common ancestor.
>> There is evolution, and there is *_convergent evolution_* of which I
>> claimed the latter.
>> That is, they have evolved from different original families to occupy a
>> similar habitat and lifestyle
>> to another family's descendents. (Cacti & euphorbias are totally
>> unrelated family-wise, but
>> have evolved similar structures and habitats (succulent, drought
>> tolerant, thorns, supressed or absent leaves, etc.).
>> Their different upbringing is given away by their totally different
>> flowers, however.)
>>
>> Another example. Australia has no woodpeckers at all. The closest thing
>> that continent has is Riflebirds,
>> specifically in my experience, Paradise Riflebird, a flicker-sized bird
>> with a (very strong in this case)
>> decurved bill like Brown Creeper's miniature bill. It lacks the central,
>> stiff tail feathers, it's tail more like
>> a nuthatch. Like Creepers, this species has no phylogenetic
>> relationship to woodpeckers but has
>> evolved similar habits such as foraging in rotting wood.
>>
>> http://www.australianwildlife. org/wildlife/paradise- riflebird.aspx
>> <http://www.australianwildlife.org/wildlife/paradise-riflebird.aspx>
>>
>> The Wallcreeper of Eurasia has a similar clinging lifestyle as their name
>> implies, but they also
>> lack the central tail feathers with tails like nuthatches to which they
>> are sometimes thought to be
>> related. They're still working on evolving that feature I guess. They
>> have no plans to
>> evolve bills capable to boring into rocky cliffs, their preferred habitat.
>>
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Wallcreeper
>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallcreeper>
>>
>> So there (hee, hee; how do ya' like them apples?).
>>
>> Bob
>>
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 10:33 AM, Nathaniel Wander <nw105...>
>> wrote:
>>
>> While I’m guessing that Bob O’Brien offered the remark that Brown
>> Creepers were the “about the closest thing that you can get to a
>> woodpecker” in an act of kindness to lighten the mood and “spare the
>> blushes” of an honest mis-identification, they are, of course, nothing of
>> the sort. Creepers (treecreepers in the Old World) are songbirds: they
>> don’t look like woodpeckers, they don’t behave like woodpeckers and they
>> have no near phylogenetic relationship to woodpeckers. Their one
>> interesting connection to woodpeckers is that they compete with and defend
>> territories against Redheaded Woodpeckers (*Melanerpes erythrocephalus*)
>> in eastern North America. Even still, they prefer arachnids to insects and
>> eat seeds in winter.
>>
>> Brown Creepers’ closest relatives are the as many as ten treecreeper
>> species in Europe and Asia. After that, they appear to be most closely
>> related to gnatcatchers and are considered general kin to wrens—these
>> species comprise the family Certhioidea. There are thought to be about six
>> to nine races of Brown Creepers in North America, not counting a few
>> Mexican races that reach the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico. The
>> details of their relationships have been much debated. In the past the
>> North American birds have sometimes been divided into three or four
>> discrete species, sometimes even lumped with the Eurasian Treecreeper (*C
>> familiaris*). There was a proposal before the AOS last spring to divide
>> the present single New World species into a North American species
>> (exclusive of the highland Arizona/New Mexico populations) and a
>> Mexican/Central American species (including highland Arizona/New Mexico
>> populations) possibly to be named Nearctic Creeper and Neotropical Creeper
>> respectively. I can’t see that it has been voted on yet.
>>
>> Otherwise, creepers feed on tree trunks by poking beneath bark flakes
>> rather than boring holes like woodpeckers. They are not cavity nesters,
>> but weavers. They communicate via high pitched calls and songs, not
>> drumming and they are cryptically colored rather than boldly marked. They
>> take insects but prefer arachnids and, of course, their prey range is
>> generally significantly smaller than that of woodpeckers: I’ve found no
>> evidence that they consume ants.
>>
>> It may be that Bob wasn’t genially joking, but was thinking of
>> woodcreepers (Dendrocolaptinae) rather than creepers/treecreepers. These
>> 50-60 odd Central/S American forest birds fall in the woodpecker size range
>> and have some evolutionarily convergent features with the latter including
>> stiff tails which they use woodpecker-like as an important point of contact
>> in shimmying up tree trunks. Woodcreepers generally have heavy bills, but
>> use them for bark-probing like creepers/treecreepers rather than boring
>> like woodpeckers. Their generally cryptic coloration is also sometimes
>> said to be convergent with creepers/treecreepers. Woodcreepers too are
>> passerines, though suboscines (like flycatchers) rather than ‘true’ oscine
>> songbirds. Suboscine songs are generally less complex than those of oscine
>> songbirds and typically are acquired genetically rather than learned.
>>
>>
>> Nathaniel Wander
>> Portland, OR
>>
>> *Max Planck* is supposed to have said:
>> A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and
>> making them see the light, but rather because its opponents
>> eventually die
>> and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
>> *Andreas Wagner* observed of Planck's remark:
>> Science, like nature, advances one funeral at a time. (*Arrival of the
>> Fittest*, p.197)
>>
>>
>>
>

 
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