The avifauna of Madagascar presents a complicated taxonomic and biogeographic problem. Although Madagascar was once connected to Africa, the birds of the island are not all of African origin. The Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher (Ispidina madagascariensis) is sometimes placed in the African genus Ispidina and sometimes in the Southeast Asian genus Ceyx. We sequenced 755 base pairs of mitochondrial DNA from a fragment of the NADH dehydrogenase subunit II (ND2) and from the complete NADH dehydrogenase subunit III (ND3). We used these data to construct phylogenetic hypotheses for the Alcedinidae. Using these phylogenies, we evaluate previous hypotheses of relationships of I. madagascariensis. Although we cannot reject the hypothesis that I. madagascariensis is indeed a member of Ispidina, tree-building analyses support a relationship not with Ispidina or Ceyx, but instead with members of the African genus Corythornis. These data suggest that certain behaviors and plumage types have evolved several times in the Alcedinidae.
Relations Phylogénétiques de Ispidina madagascariensis