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Forest robin
File:Stiphrornis pyrrholaemus.jpg
Stiphrornis pyrrholaemus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Stiphrornis
Hartlaub, 1855

1-5, see text

The forest robins are small Central and West African birds from the genus Stiphrornis. They have been placed in the family Turdidae, but are now generally placed in Muscicapidae in the group popularly known as chats. Traditionally, only a single species, the Forest Robin (S. erythrothorax), has been recognized, but recent reviews have recommended recognizing 5 species. All have a total length of around 12 cm (4½ in), have dark upperparts, and a throat and chest that, depending on the exact species, is yellow-orange or deep orange.[1]


The initial split into multiple species within this genus is based on a review from 1999 where it, based on the phylogenetic species concept, was argued that all then recognized taxa should be considered monotypic species.[2] Of these, S. gabonensis and S. xanthogaster were formerly considered subspecies of S. erythrothorax, whereas S. saghensis was described as an entirely new species.[2] The split was not followed in Handbook of the Birds of the World, where described as "perhaps premature".[1] Comparably, the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group (and consequently IUCN) recommended not following the split, as differences in plumages are relatively small, genetic sampling considered incomplete, and evidence for intergradation or parapatry is lacking.[3] Another species from this complex, S. pyrrholaemus, was described as a new species in 2008. Based on mtDNA, it is placed within S. erythrothorax sensu lato, and consequently is only a species (rather than a subspecies of S. erythrothorax) if at least some of the taxonomy recommended in 1999 is followed.[4] The genetic divergence between S. pyrrholaemus and other members of the genus is comparable to that between some other closely related species.[4]



  1. ^ a b Collar, N. (2005). Forest Robin (Stiphrornis erythrothorax). Pp. 730-731 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., & Christie, D. eds. (2005). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 10. Cuckoo-shrikes to Thrushes. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 84-87334-72-5
  2. ^ a b Beresford, P. & Cracraft, J. (1999). Speciation in African forest robins (Stiphrornis): species limits, phylogenetic relationships, and molecular biogeography. American Museum Novitates 3270: 1–22. PDF available.
  3. ^ BirdLife International (2006). Stiphrornis erythrothorax. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 27 September 2008. Database entry includes justification for why this species is least concern.
  4. ^ a b Schmidt, B., Foster, J., Angehr, G., Durrant, K., & Fleischer, R. (2008): A new species of African Forest Robin from Gabon (Passeriformes: Muscicapidae: Stiphrornis). Zootaxa 1850: 27–42. PDF available.

Eurasian Spoonbill This article is part of Project Bird Genera, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each genus, including made-up genera.
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