Short Note

The phylogenetic affinities of the Socotra Bunting Emberiza socotrana

  • Manuel Schweizer
  • Guy M Kirwan


The monophyly of the African ‘brown bunting’ complex was corroborated by a recent molecular study. However, the little-known Socotran endemic Emberiza socotrana, which is morphologically similar to the other taxa in this complex, was not included. Here we present a hypothesis of the phylogenetic relationships of the Socotra Bunting based on one mitochondrial gene and one nuclear intron. We found the Socotra Bunting to be deeply nested within the African ‘brown bunting’ complex and, although morphologically most similar to E. capensis, it proved to be more closely related to the E. striolata/sahari and E. tahapisi/goslingi species groups. The phylogenetic uniqueness of the Socotra Bunting underpins once more the evolutionary importance of the Endemic Bird Area of Socotra, which is often considered the ‘Galápagos of the Indian Ocean’.

Keywords: Emberiza, mitochondrial DNA, nuclear DNA, phylogeny, Socotra Archipelago, Socotra Bunting

OSTRICH 2014, 85(1): 103–106

Author Biographies

Manuel Schweizer
Naturhistorisches Museum der Burgergemeinde Bern, Bern, Switzerland
Guy M Kirwan
Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-947X
print ISSN: 0030-6525