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Chris Lavers (sorry if I got the name wrong) asked about
flightlessness in passerines, and Ron Orenstein writes..
> The only passerine regarded as possibly flightless was the Stephens
> Island Rock Wren (Xenicus lyalli) of New Zealand, though a number of
> passerines fly very seldom, if at all. The Stephens Island bird
> was, famously, discovered and exterminated about a century ago by
> the lighthouse-keeper's cat.
I am reliably informed that there is uncertainty over whether or not
_Xenicus_ was truly flightless, as Ron does note. Like other xenicids
(or acanthisittids), it was probably capable of weak flight: the wing
proportions of even the most robust-legged, terrestrial of xenicids
(the extinct _Pachyplichas_... I don't think I've spelt the name
correctly) indicate that even they were flighted.
However, two other cases of possible flightlessness in passerines are
known. One is in tapaculos (rhinocrypturids): Feduccia (1996)
suggests in his book that some of them may have been / may be
flightless. The other is in a new taxon, currently in press. Can't
say more in a public forum.
I don't have any ornithological texts to hand so please forgive
"Science will accept the view of the Dodo as a degenerate Dove rather
than as an advanced Dinothere" - - Owen, 1875