Temporary Page


Scott Lanyon
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
tricolored blackbird
taxon links [up-->]Agelaius phoeniceus [up-->]Agelaius assimilis [up-->]Agelaius humeralis [down<--]Icteridae Interpreting the tree
close box

This tree diagram shows the relationships between several groups of organisms.

The root of the current tree connects the organisms featured in this tree to their containing group and the rest of the Tree of Life. The basal branching point in the tree represents the ancestor of the other groups in the tree. This ancestor diversified over time into several descendent subgroups, which are represented as internal nodes and terminal taxa to the right.

example of a tree diagram

You can click on the root to travel down the Tree of Life all the way to the root of all Life, and you can click on the names of descendent subgroups to travel up the Tree of Life all the way to individual species.

For more information on ToL tree formatting, please see Interpreting the Tree or Classification. To learn more about phylogenetic trees, please visit our Phylogenetic Biology pages.

close box

Tree from Johnson and Lanyon (1999; Figure 4).  Placement of Agelaius assimilis is based on an as yet unpublished study by Barker, Vandergon, and Lanyon.

This clade is the subject of an NSF funded "Assembling the Tree of Life" grant (DEB-0316092) to Keith Barker (University of Minnesota), Kevin Burns (San Diego State University), John Klicka (University of Nevada-Las Vegas), Scott Lanyon (University of Minnesota), and Irby Lovette (Cornell University).  Our goal is to sequence multiple genes for every species of "nine-primaried oscine" and to construct a robust phylogeny from these data.  This page will be updated once this research has been completed.

Containing group: Icteridae


Johnson, K.P. and S.M. Lanyon 1999. Molecular systematics of the grackles and allies, and the effect of additional sequence (CYT-b and ND2). Auk 116:759-768.

Lanyon, S.M. 1994. Polyphyly of the blackbird genus Agelaius and the importance of assumptions of monophyly in comparative studies. Evolution 48:679-693.

Title Illustrations
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
tricolored blackbird
Scientific Name Agelaius tricolor
Location Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, Siskiou County, California, USA
Comments tricolored blackbird
Creator Dave Menke
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Sex Male
Source Collection U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Online Digital Media Library
Scientific Name Agelaius phoeniceus
Location Forest Lake, MN
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Identified By Scott M. Lanyon
Sex Male
Life Cycle Stage adult
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0.
Copyright © Scott Lanyon
Scientific Name Agelaius humeralis
Location Zapata Swamp, Cuba
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Identified By Arthur Grosset
Source Tawny-shouldered Blackbird (Agelaius humeralis)
Copyright © 2005 Arthur Grosset
About This Page

Scott Lanyon
University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Scott Lanyon at

Page: Tree of Life Agelaius. Authored by Scott Lanyon. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Lanyon, Scott. 2006. Agelaius. Version 13 October 2006 (temporary). http://tolweb.org/Agelaius/67409/2006.10.13 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

edit this page
close box

This page is a Tree of Life Branch Page.

Each ToL branch page provides a synopsis of the characteristics of a group of organisms representing a branch of the Tree of Life. The major distinction between a branch and a leaf of the Tree of Life is that each branch can be further subdivided into descendent branches, that is, subgroups representing distinct genetic lineages.

For a more detailed explanation of the different ToL page types, have a look at the Structure of the Tree of Life page.

close box


Page Content

articles & notes



Explore Other Groups

random page

  go to the Tree of Life home page