Monday, April 23, 2012

Convergence and common names

Confusingly, "ovenbird" can refer to two unrelated bird lineages because they both construct rounded nests that resemble wood-fired ovens. It all comes of trusting common names and convergent evolution.

The ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) that breeds in North America is really a New World warbler in the family Parulidae.

The South American ovenbirds or horneros, in the family Furnariidae, build clay nests that look considerably more convincing as ovens. Here is a rufous hornero (Furnarius rufus) at work:
And enjoying the finished product:

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