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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Cladus: Avemetatarsalia
Cladus: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauriformes
Cladus: Dracohors
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Subordo: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Cladus: Averostra
Cladus: Tetanurae
Cladus: Avetheropoda
Cladus: Coelurosauria
Cladus: Tyrannoraptora
Cladus: Maniraptoromorpha
Cladus: Maniraptoriformes
Cladus: Maniraptora
Cladus: Pennaraptora
Cladus: Paraves
Cladus: Eumaniraptora
Cladus: Avialae
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Cladus: Neoaves
Cladus: Telluraves
Cladus: Australaves
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Infraordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Passeroidea

Familia: Icteridae
Genus: Leistes
Species: L. bellicosus – L. defilippii – L. loyca – L. militaris – L. superciliaris

Leistes Vigors, 1825

Typus: Emberiza militaris Linnaeus, 1758 = Leistes militaris


Leïstes [original spelling]

Primary references

Vigors, N.A. 1825. Sketches in ornithology; or, observations on the leading affinities of some of the more extensive groups of birds. On the genus Icterus, Brisson. The Zoological Journal Vol.2: From January 1825 to April 1826: 182–197 BHL Reference page. p. 191 BHL

Additional references

Powell, A. F.L.A., Barker, F. K., Lanyon, S. M., Burns, K. J., Klicka, J., & Lovette, I. J. 2014. A comprehensive species-level molecular phylogeny of the New World blackbirds (Icteridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 71: 94-112. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2013.11.009 Full article (PDF)Reference page.
Remsen, J.V. Jr., Powell, A.F.L.A., Schodde, R., Barker, F.K. & Lanyon, S.M. 2016. A revised classification of the Icteridae (Aves) based on DNA sequence data. Zootaxa 4093(2): 285–292. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4093.2.9 Reference page.

The genus Leistes are predominantly South American grassland birds called meadowlarks. The genus was previously lumped with the North American meadowlarks in the genus Sturnella.

It includes five species of largely insectivorous grassland birds. In all species the male at least has a black or brown back and extensively red underparts.

List of species

There are five widely accepted members of the genus.[1]

Image Common Name Scientific name Distribution
Sturnella militaris (Soldadito) - Flickr - Alejandro Bayer.jpg Red-breasted meadowlark (formerly red-breasted blackbird) Leistes militaris south-western Costa Rica, and Trinidad, south to north-eastern Peru and central Brazil
Sturnella superciliaris -Vale do Ribeira, Registro, Sao Paulo, Brazil -8.jpg White-browed meadowlark (formerly white-browed blackbird) Leistes superciliaris south-western Brazil through Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina
Peruvian Meadowlark - Ecuador 05 dgs(2) (23781009842).jpg Peruvian meadowlark Leistes bellicosus western Peru, Ecuador and far northern Chile.
Naturalis Biodiversity Center - ZMA.AVES.1208 - Sturnella defilippii Bonaparte, 1850 - Icteridae - skin specimen.jpeg Pampas meadowlark Leistes defillippi Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.
Loyca.jpg Long-tailed meadowlark Leistes loyca southern South America and the Falkland Islands


By the early 20th century, the meadowlarks were split. Only the "yellow-breasted" meadowlarks (eastern and western meadowlarks, including Lilian's) remained in the genus Sturnella. The red-breasted and white-browed meadowlarks were moved to the genus Leistes, while the pampas meadowlark, Peruvian meadowlark and long-tailed meadowlark made up the genus Pezites, which was established by Cabanis in 1851. By the late 20th century, all meadowlarks were lumped in the genus Sturnella. In 2017, all the red-breasted meadowlarks were merged into the genus Leistes.

"ITIS Report: Sturnella". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 29 November 2014.


del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew; Christie, David, eds. (2011). Handbook of Birds of the World, volume 16: Tanagers to New World Blackbirds. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-84-96553-78-1.
New World Blackbirds by Jaramillo and Burke, ISBN 0-7136-4333-1

Further reading
Powell, A.F.L.A.; Barker, F.K.; Lanyon, S.M.; Burns, K.J.; Klicka, J.; Lovette, I.J. (2014). "A comprehensive species-level molecular phylogeny of the New World blackbirds (Icteridae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 71: 94–112. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2013.11.009. PMID 24291659.

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