The phylogeny of kingfishers was reconstructed by comparing mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences representing 38 ingroup species. Analysis of the combined data and the nuclear data alone recovered the Alcedininae as the basal lineage in the family. This basal arrangement, and support for many relationships within the three subfamilies, allows discussion of biogeographic issues. The Australian region and Pacific islands display the highest diversity of kingfishers, but this diversity is not a reflection of a long history in the region. Rather, high diversity and endemism in the Australian region is inferred to result from relatively recent radiations from southern Asia. The most parsimonious explanation for the origin of New World taxa is two dispersal events from the Old World. Within the large Halcyon radiation, the phylogeny is well resolved and allows evaluation of generic assignments. The phylogeny supports splitting Todiramphus from Halcyon. Todiramphus and Syma are sister taxa, as are Halcyon and Pelargopsis. Thus, merging or retaining those genera is a more subjective decision. Although not fully resolved, relationships within the alcedinines indicate that Ceyx and Alcedo, as currently delimited, are not natural groups.
Phylogénie Moléculaire des Alcedinidae avec un Aperçu de l'Histoire Biogéographique Ancienne