A molecular phylogeny of minivets (Passeriformes: Campephagidae: Pericrocotus): implications for biogeography and convergent plumage evolution

Minivets are conspicuous and mostly intensely colourful birds inhabiting wooded environments in tropical and subtropical South and Southeast Asia and temperate East Asia. We present a robust phylogeny of the group based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA data including all 12 recognized species and also many subspecies representing disjunct populations in the Oriental mainland and in Indonesia. The study indicates that minivets radiated within mainland Asia and dispersed to the Indonesian archipelago. We also demonstrate that in accordance with studies on other bird groups, plumage characters are highly plastic and that the diversity of plumage patterns and colouration represents an example of convergent evolution.