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Re: AW: Question -- was shaking bird trees
--- On Fri, 6/27/08, evelyn sobielski <email@example.com> wrote:
> From: evelyn sobielski <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: AW: Question -- was shaking bird trees
> To: email@example.com
> Date: Friday, June 27, 2008, 4:09 PM
> > This brought to mind something I meant to look up
> before I
> > got so lazy.
> > What is the smallest bird known to have lost it's
> > flight ability? Is there a well-defined size threshold
> > below which flight is rarely or never lost?
> > Don
> _Pachyplichas jagmi_, _Xenicus longipes_ and _Emberiza
> alcoveri_ were all about the size of a goldfinch.
> A few of the Hawaiian rails were pretty tiny too; IONO
> whether the record of _Porzana menehune_ as smallest known
> rail still stands. In any case it can't have been more
> than 1-2 cm longer than the above.
> Given the paucity of insular birds below the size of the
> above, the answer to your question would be "probably
> not". Hummingbirds don't really count; the
> *process* of becoming flightless must at least be
> evolutionarily neutral and it is hard to imagine how that
> ought to happen in hummers.
> The extinct insular wrens (true wrens) were behaviorally in
> the early stages of becoming flightles. And they were close
> to the small end of Passeriformes.
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