Systematics and biogeography of Indo-Pacific ground-doves

Ground-doves represent an insular bird radiation distributed across the Indo-Pacific. The radiation comprises sixteen extant species, two species believed to be extinct and six species known to be extinct. In the present study, we present a molecular phylogeny for all sixteen extant species, based on two mitochondria! markers. We demonstrate that the Gallicolumba as currently circumscribed is not monophyletic and recommend reinstalling the name Alopecoenas for a monophyletic radiation comprising ten extant species, distributed in New Guinea, the Lesser Sundas and Oceania. Gallicolumba remains the name for six species confined to New Guinea the Philippines and Sulawesi. Although our phylogenetic analyses fail to support a single origin for the remaining Gallicolumba species, we suspect that the addition of nuclear sequence data may alter this result. Because a number of ground-dove taxa have gone extinct, it is difficult to assess biogeographical patterns. However, the Alopecoenas clade has clearly colonized many remote oceanic islands rather recently, with several significant water crossings. The Gallicolumba radiation(s), on the other hand, is significantly older and it is possible that diversification within that group may in part have been shaped by plate tectonics and corresponding re-arrangements of land masses within the Philippine and Sulawesi region