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(Old Chinese Proverb)

Orders of Birds

DRAFT, 10/14/2017

Table 1-1  A higher classification of modern birds

Improving sets of DNA sequences are revolutionizing the Avian Tree of Life and call for substantial revisions of  the higher classification of birds, especially the sequence of the Orders (Hackett et al. 2008, Cracraft 2013, Jarvis et al. 2014, Prum et al. 2015, Suh et al. 2015).  The revised sequence of Orders here is a step towards our goal of deciphering the evolutionary history of the major groups of birds.  Species totals in parentheses are tallied from the IOC World Bird List, 7.4 (Gill and Donsker 2017)

 PALEOGNATHAE Ratites The ratites (paleognaths) are the sister group to the rest of living birds.
 Struthioniformes Ostriches (2)
 Rheiformes Rheas (2)
 Apterygiformes Kiwis (5) Kiwis are sister to tinamous/emus+cassowaries (Cracraft 2013, Prum et al. 2015).
 Casuariiformes Emu, cassowaries (4)
 Tinamiformes Tinamous (47) Tinamou relationships within the ratites are uncertain (Hackett et al. 2008,  Baker et al. 2010, Haddrath and Baker 2012), but are treated provisionally as sister to emus, cassowaries (Prum et al. 2015).
 NEOGNATHAE
GALLOANSERES Landfowl (Galliformes) and Waterfowl (Anseriformes) together (Galloanseres) are sister to all other extant non-paleognath birds (Neoaves).
 Galliformes Landfowl: Grouse, quail, pheasants, francolins, guineafowl, moundbuilders (300) A basal lineage of the Neognathae, Landfowl (Galliformes) are sister to the Waterfowl (Anseriformes).
 Anseriformes Waterfowl: Ducks, geese, swans, screamers (177) Waterfowl (Anseriformes) are sister to the Landfowl (Galliformes).
NEOAVES Neoaves includes three major components: (1) a basal unresolved polytomy of at least 9 Orders, (2) a Core Waterbird Clade (Aequornithes) and (3) a Core Landbird Clade (Telluraves) (Prum et al. 2015, Suh et al. 2016).
 Caprimulgiformes Nightjars, frogmouths, potoos, oilbirds, owlet-nightjars, swifts, hummingbirds (604) The Caprimulgiform nightbirds  define a  spectacular basal adaptive radiation of Neoaves.  Owlet-nightjars, swifts and hummingbirds were previously separated in the Apodiformes,
Musophagiformes Turacos (23) Turacos are sister to cuckoos (Cuculiformes) (Jarvis et al. 2014, Prum et al. 2015).
 Otidiformes Bustards (26) Now in their own Order, the bustards  are related to turacos (Musophagiformes) and cuckoos (Cuculiformes) (Hackett et al. 2008, Jarvis et al. 2014, Prum et al. 2015).
 Cuculiformes Cuckoos (26) Cuckoos are sister to turacos (Musophagiformes) and bustards (Otidiformes) (Jarvis et al. 2014, Prum et al. 2015)
 Mesitornithiformes Mesites (3) Now in their own Order, the Mesites are sister to sandgrouse (Pterocliformes) and in turn pigeons (Columbidae) (Hackett et al. 2008, Jarvis et al. 2014, Prum et al. 2015).
 Pterocliformes Sandgrouse (16) Sandgrouse are sister to the Malagasy mesites (Mesitornithiformes) (Hackett et al. 2008, Jarvis et al. 2014, Prum et al. 2015).
 Columbiformes Pigeons (343) Pigeons are the sister group to an Old World clade consisting of sandgrouse (Pterocliformes) and the  mesites (Mesitornithiformes). Together they form the clade Columbimorphae at or near the base of Neoaves (Hackett et al. 2008, Jarvis et al. 2014, Prum et al. 2015).
 Gruiformes Diverse terrestrial and marshbirds: rails and allies flufftails, finfoots, cranes, limpkin, and trumpeters (189) Long recognized to be an artificial assemblage of taxa, the revised core Gruiformes now includes 7 families: rails (Rallidae), flufftails (Sarothuridae), finfoots (Heliornithidae),  trumpeters (Psophiidae), cranes (Gruidae), and Limpkin (Aramidae) (Hackett et al. 2008, Prum et al. 2015).
Podicipediformes Grebes (23) Grebes and flamingos (Phoenicopteriformes) are ancient sister taxa and members of the basal polytomy, potentially related to shorebirds (Charadriiformes) (Hackett et al. 2008, Mayr 2008, Prum et al. 2015).
 Phoenicopteriformes Flamingos (6) Flamingos and grebes (Podicipediformes) are ancient sister taxa, potentially related to shorebirds (Charadriiformes) (Hackett et al. 2008, Mayr 2008, Prum et al. 2015).
 Charadriiformes Shorebirds and relatives: sandpipers, plovers, phalaropes, stilts, jacanas, painted snipes, pratincoles, gulls and terns, seedsnipes, sheathbills, skimmers, skuas, auks (383) Shorebirds and diving birds in the Charadriiformes are an ancient clade and member of the unresolved basal polytomy.
 Eurypygiformes Sunbittern, Kagu (2) The Sunbittern and Kagu are removed from the Gruiformes to a new Order Eurypygiformes, which with tropicbirds (Phaethontiformes) is sister to the Core Waterbird clade (Hackett et al. 2008, Prum et al. 2015).
 Phaethontiformes Tropicbirds (3) Tropicbirds together with Sunbittern and Kagu (Eurypygiformes) are sister to Core Waterbird clade (Prum et al. 2015).
Aequornithes  Core Waterbirds
 Gaviiformes Loons (5) Loons are the outgroup to penguins (Sphenisciformes) + tube-nosed seabirds (Procellariiformes) (Prum et al. 2015).
 Sphenisciformes Penguins (18) Penguins are sister to the tube-nosed seabirds (Procellariiformes).
 Procellariiformes Tube-nosed seabirds: petrels, shearwaters, albatrosses, storm petrels, diving petrels (147) The tube-nosed seabirds are sister to penguins (Sphenisciformes).  Albatrosses are  the sister group to all other tubenoses (Prum et al. 2015, cf Hackett et al. 2008).
 Ciconiiformes Storks (19)  The Order Ciconiiformes includes only the storks (Ciconiidae). Ibises and spoonbills (Threskiornithidae) and herons (Ardeidae) are members of the Pelecaniformes (Hackett et al. 2008, Jarvis et al. 2014, Prum et al. 2015).
 Suliformes Totipalmate water and diving birds: frigatebirds, cormorants, anhingas, and boobies (61) The  Suliform waterbirds are sister to the wading birds (Pelecaniformes) (Prum et al. 2005).
 Pelecaniformes Ibis, herons, pelican,  Hammerkop, Shoebill (118)  The relationships among Pelecaniform families  remain uncertain (Hackett et al. 2008, Prum et al. 2015).
Opisthocomiformes Hoatzin (1) The Hoatzin is one of the most ancient, living bird lineages (Prum et al. 2015).
Telluraves Core Landbirds
 Accipitriformes Raptors incl New World Vultures (266)  Raptors (Accipitriformes) are a basal member of the Core Landbirds clade. New World vultures are deep basal split and sister to the rest of the Accipitriformes (Prum et al. 2015).
 Strigiformes Owls (243)  Owls are basal members of the Core Landbirds.
Coliiformes Mousebirds (6)  Mousebirds are basal members of the Core Landbirds.
 Leptosomiformes Cuckoo Roller (1)  The Cuckoo Roller is the only member of an ancient lineage with no known relatives among modern birds (Hackett et al. 2008, Prum et al. 2015).
 Trogoniformes Trogons, quetzals (43) Trogons are embedded in the Core Landbirds (Prum et al. 2015).
 Bucerotiformes Hornbills, hoopoes, wood hoopoes (74) Separation of the hornbills and  hoopoes  from the Coraciiformes as the Order Bucerotiformes maintains monophyly of the Coraciiformes (Hackett et al. 2008, Prum et al. 2015).
 Coraciiformes Kingfishers and allies: rollers, todies, motmots, bee-eaters (177) The kingfishers and allies form the sister group to the monophyletic Piciformes (Prum et al. 2015).
 Piciformes Woodpeckers and allies (445) The diverse, monotypic Piciformes includes jacamars, puffbirds  honeyguides, wrynecks, barbets and toucans as well as woodpeckers worldwide (Hackett et al. 2008, Prum et al. 2015).
 Cariamiformes Seriamas (2) Seriemas are moved from the traditional Gruiformes to their own Order, related in turn to the terminal landbird clade Australaves  (Hackett et al. 2008, Jarvis et al. 2014, Prum et al. 2015).
Australaves  Terminal Landbird Clade
 Falconiformes Falcons (67) The falcons and caracaras (Falconiformes) are not relatives of other raptors in the Accipitriformes, but rather are a separate lineage and Order in the terminal landbird clade Australaves which includes parrots and in turn the Passeriformes (Hackett et al. 2008, Jarvis et al. 2014, Prum et al. 2015).
 Psittaciformes Parrots (398) Parrots (Psittaciformes) are the sister group to the Passeriformes (Hackett et al. 2008, Jarvis et al. 2014, Prum et al. 2015).
 Passeriformes Perching birds (6456) The Passeriformes, or perching birds, include the majority of world bird species. The New Zealand Wrens (Acanthisittidae) are the sister group to all passerines, including both suboscines and oscines.