New Study Reveals Globe-trotting Pedigree of South Asian Songbirds

The rich diversity of bulbuls in South Asia can be traced as far as the Sundaland region of Southeast Asia, in the islands that today make up Indonesia and Malaysia, a new study shows.

Bulbuls, the Pycnonotidae family of fruit-eating songbirds, number more than 150 species throughout Asia and Africa, with 24 in South Asia, half of them endemic to the region. Genetic analysis now shows that these South Asian bulbuls trace their origins to Sundaland, coming in several waves of colonization that crossed through mainland Southeast Asia to get to the Indian subcontinent.

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