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Bird classification

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Mooruk-WolfTaxonomy is very fluid in the age of DNA analysis, so comments are made where appropriate, and all numbers are approximate. In particular see Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy for a very different classification.

This article and the descendant family articles follow the taxonomy of the Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds (HANZAB) for families largely endemic to that region, and otherwise the Handbook of Birds of the World (HBW).


The flightless and mostly giant Struthioniformes lack a keeled sternum and are collectively known as ratites. Together with the Tinamiformes, they form the Paleognathae (or ‘old jaws’), one of the two evolutionary “super orders”.

  • Struthioniformes: mainly southern hemisphere; 12 species, 2 extinct
    • Struthionidae: Ostrich
      Casuariidae: emus and cassowaries
      Apterygidae: kiwis
      Rheidae: rheas
  • Tinamiformes: South America; 45 species
    • Tinamidae: tinamous



Nearly all living birds belong to the super order of Neognathae— or ‘new jaws’. With their keels, unlike the ratites, they are known as carinates. The passerines alone account for well over 5000 species.

  • Anseriformes: worldwide; 150 species
    • Anhimidae: screamers
      Anseranatidae: Magpie-goose
      Anatidae: swans, geese and ducks
  • Galliformes: worldwide except northern Eurasia; 256 species.
    • Megapodidae: mound-builders
      Cracidae: chachalacas, guans and curassows
      Tetraonidae: grouse
      Phasianidae: partridges, pheasants, quail and allies
      Odontophoridae: New World quails
      Numididae: guineafowl
      Meleagrididae: turkeys
      Mesitornithidae: mesites
  • Sphenisciformes: Antarctic and southern waters; 16 species
    • Spheniscidae: penguins
  • Gaviiformes: North America, Eurasia; 5 species
    • Gaviidae loons or divers
  • Podicipediformes: worldwide; 20 species
    • Podicipedidae: grebes
  • Procellariiformes: pan-oceanic; 93 species
    • Diomedeidae: albatrosses
      Procellariidae: fulmars, prions, shearwaters, gadfly and other petrels
      Pelecanoididae: diving petrels
      Hydrobatidae: storm petrels
  • Pelecaniformes: worldwide; 57 species
    • Pelecanidae: pelicans
      Sulidae: gannets and boobies
      Phalacrocoracidae: cormorants
      Fregatidae: frigatebirds
      Anhingidae: Anhinga and darters
      Phaethontidae: tropicbirds
  • Ciconiiformes: all continents; 115 species.
    • Ardeidae: herons and bitterns
      Cochlearidae: Boatbill
      Balaenicipitidae: Shoebill
      Scopidae: Hammerkop
      Ciconiidae: storks
      Threskiornithidae: ibises and spoonbills
      Phoenicopteridae flamingos
  • Accipitriformes: worldwide; about 226 species. Some classifications also include the Falconidae.
    • Cathartidae: New World vultures and Condors
      Pandionidae: Osprey
      Accipitridae: hawks, eagles, buzzards and Old World vultures, harriers, kites, and allies
      Sagittaridae: Secretary Bird
  • Falconiformes: worldwide; 60 species. Sometimes included in the Accipitriformes.
    • Falconidae: falcons
  • Turniciformes: Old World, 15 species
    • Turnicidae: buttonquail
  • Gruiformes: worldwide; 196 species
    • Gruidae: cranes
      Aramidae: Limpkin
      Psophiidae: trumpeters
      Rallidae: rails, crakes, coots and allies
      Heliornithidae: finfoots and Sungrebe
      Rhynochetidae: Kagu
      Eurypigidae: Sunbittern
      Cariamidae: seriemas
      Otidae: bustards
  • Charadriiformes: worldwide; 305 species
    • Jacanidae: jacanas
      Rostratulidae: painted snipe
      Haematopodidae: oystercatchers
      Charadriidae: plovers
      Pluvianellidae: Magellanic Plover
      Ibidorhynchidae: Ibisbill
      Recurvirostridae: avocets and stilts
      Scolopacidae: typical waders or shorebirds
      Dromadidae: Crab Plover
      Burhinidae: thick-knees
      Glareolidae: coursers and pratincoles
      Thinocoridae: seedsnipe
      Pedionomidae: Plains Wanderer
      Chionididae: sheathbill
      Stercorariidae: skuas
      Laridae: gulls
      Sternidae: terns
      Rhynchopidae: skimmers
      Alcidae: auks
  • Pterocliformes: Africa, Europe, Asia; 16 species
    • Pteroclidae: sandgrouse
  • Columbiformes: worldwide; 300 species
    • Raphidae: dodos
      Columbidae: pigeons and doves
  • Psittaciformes: pan-tropical, southern temperate zones; 330 species
    • Cacatuidae: cockatoos
      Psittacidae: parrots
  • Cuculiformes: worldwide; 151 species
    • Musophagidae: turacos and allies
      Cuculidae: cuckoos
      Opisthocomidae: Hoatzin
  • Strigiformes: worldwide; 134 species
    • Tytonidae: barn owls
      Strigidae: typical owls
  • Caprimulgiformes: worldwide; 96 species
    • Steatornithidae: Oilbird
      Podargidae: frogmouths
      Nyctibiidae: potoos
      Aegothelidae: owlet-nightjars
      Caprimulgidae: nightjars
  • Apodiformes: worldwide; 403 species
    • Apodidae: swifts
      Hemiprocnidae: tree swifts
  • Trochiliformes
    • Trochilidae: hummingbirds
  • Coliiformes: Sub-Saharan Africa; 6 species
    • Coliidae: mousebirds
  • Trogoniformes: Sub-Saharan Africa, Americas, Asia; 35 species
    • Trogonidae: trogons and quetzals
  • Coraciiformes: worldwide; 192 species
    • Alcedinidae: river kingfishers
      Halcyonidae: tree kingfishers
      Cerylidae: water or belted kingfishers
      Todidae: todies
      Momotidae: motmots
      Meropidae: bee-eaters
      Leptosomatidae: Cuckoo Roller
      Brachypteraciidae: ground rollers
      Coraciidae: rollers
      Upupidae: Hoopoe
      Phoeniculidae: woodhoopoes
      Bucerotidae: hornbills
  • Piciformes: worldwide except Australasia; 376 species
    • Galbulidae: jacamars
      Bucconidae: puffbirds
      Capitonidae: barbets
      Indicatoridae: honeyguides
      Ramphastidae: toucans
      Picidae: woodpeckers
  • Passeriformes: worldwide; about 5200 species
    • Suborder Tyranni (“suboscines”)
    • Tyrannidae: tyrant flycatchers
      Acanthisittidae: New Zealand wrens
      Pittidae: pittas
      Eurylaimidae: broadbills
      Dendrocolaptidae: woodcreepers
      Furnariidae: ovenbirds
      Thamnophilidae: antbirds
      Formicariidae: antpittas and antthrushes
      Conopophagidae: gnateaters
      Rhinocryptidae: tapaculos
      Cotingidae: cotingas
      Pipridae: manakins
      Philepittidae: asities
    • Suborder Passeri (“oscines”)
    • Atrichornithidae: scrub-birds
      Menuridae: lyrebirds
      Turnagridae: Piopio
      Alaudidae: larks
      Hirundinidae: swallows
      Motacillidae: wagtails and pipits
      Campephagidae: cuckoo-shrikes
      Pycnonotidae: bulbuls
      Regulidae: kinglets
      Chloropseidae: leafbirds
      Aegithinidae: ioras
      Ptilogonatidae: silky-flycatchers
      Bombycillidae: waxwings
      Hypocoliidae: hypocolius
      Dulidae: Palmchat
      Cinclidae: dippers
      Troglodytidae: wrens
      Mimidae: mockingbirds, thrashers and Gray Catbird
      Prunellidae: accentors
      Turdidae: thrushes and allies
      Cisticolidae: cisticolas and allies
      Sylviidae: Old World warblers
      Polioptilidae: gnatcatchers
      Muscicapidae: Old World flycatchers
      Platysteiridae: wattle-eyes
      Petroicidae: Australasian robins
      Pachycephalidae: whistlers and allies
      Picathartidae: rockfowl
      Timaliidae: babblers
      Pomatostomidae: pseudo-babblers
      Paradoxornithidae: parrotbills
      Orthonychidae: logrunner and chowchilla
      Cinclosomatidae: whipbirds and quail-thrushes
      Aegithalidae: long-tailed tits
      Maluridae: fairy-wrens, emu-wrens and grasswrens
      Neosittidae: sitellas
      Climacteridae: Australasian treecreepers
      Paridae: chickadees and tits
      Sittidae: nuthatches
      Tichodromidae: Wallcreeper
      Certhiidae: treecreepers
      Rhabdornithidae: Philippine creepers
      Remizidae: penduline tits
      Nectariniidae: sunbirds and spiderhunters
      Melanocharitidae: berrypeckers and longbills
      Paramythiidae: tit berrypecker and crested berrypeckers
      Dicaeidae: flowerpeckers
      Pardalotidae: pardalotes, thornbills and alies
      Zosteropidae: white-eyes
      Promeropidae: sugarbirds
      Meliphagidae: honeyeaters and chats
      Oriolidae: Old World orioles
      Irenidae: fairy-bluebirds
      Laniidae: shrikes
      Malaconotidae: bushshrikes and allies
      Prionopidae: helmetshrikes
      Vangidae: vangas
      Dicruridae: drongos
      Callaeidae: wattlebirds
      Corcoracidae: White-winged Chough and Apostlebird
      Artamidae: currawongs, woodswallows, butcherbirds & allies
      Pityriaseidae: bristlehead
      Paradisaeidae: birds-of-paradise
      Ptilonorhynchidae: bowerbirds
      Corvidae: crows, jays and magpies
      Sturnidae: starlings
      Passeridae: Old World sparrows
      Ploceidae: weavers and allies
      Estrildidae: waxbills and allies
      Viduidae: indigobirds
      Vireonidae: vireos and allies
      Fringillidae: finches, crossbills and allies
      Drepanididae: Hawaiian honeycreepers
      Peucedramidae: Olive Warbler
      Parulidae: New World warblers
      Coerebidae: Bananaquit
      Thraupidae: tanagers and allies
      Emberizidae: buntings, seedeaters and allies
      Cardinalidae: saltators, cardinals and allies
      Icteridae: troupials and allies

Image http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stavenn_Paradisaea_rubra_00.jpg

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