Sungrebe Heliornis fulica

  • Order: Gruiformes
  • Family: Heliornithidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Miles K. Luo


Geographic Variation

No geographic variation reported.

Related Species

The Sungrebe is the only member of the genus Heliornis, which is classified in the family Heliornithidae (Order Gruiformes; Suborder Heliornithes). All three species within Heliornithidae occupy monotypic genera. Although it might be presumed that the two Old World genera are more closely related to each other than either is to the Sungrebe, a phylogenetic analysis of both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data indicates that the Sungrebe and Masked Finfoot of Asia are sister species (Fain et al. 2007).

While there is relatively little doubt that Heliornithidae is monophyletic, there is uncertainty concerning where they taxonomically belong within the diverse order of Gruiformes. Sibley and Ahlquist (1990) suggested, based on their interpretations of the results from DNA-DNA hybridization, that the Limpkin (Aramus guarauna, Aramidae) was the sister family of the heliornithids. There is more support, however, for a sister relationship between heliornithids and the rails (Rallidae) (Cracraft 1982, Livezey 1998, Fain et al. 2007, Hackett et al. 2007).

Recommended Citation

Luo, M. K. (2010). Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.