Higher phylogeny

In birds, long recognised higher-level clades are treated as orders that are recognised by the ending -iformes. However, the number of orders is not defined and may vary from author to author. 

Order-level timetree of extant Aves according to Wu et al. (2024, with divergence times being given in supporting information, dataset S02). Crown-group ages, indicated by blue lines, were derived from Kuhl et al. (2021, fig.3). Note that most divergence times are considerably older than those of other authors (e.g. Brocklehurst & Field, 2024). In sharp contrast, divergence times of Aequornithes (embracing six orders from Gaviiformes to Pelecaniformes) are considerably younger than those of other authors. 

Unranked order-level classification of extant Aves according to Sangster et al. (2022) and Wu et al. (2024). [Note that the first author of the latter paper, Shaoyuan Wu, confirmed that Litusilvanae, not Litusilvae, was the intended name for the clade uniting Strisores and Gruiformes/Charadriiformes]


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Bravo GA, Schmitt CJ, and Edwards SV (2021), What have we learned from the first 500 avian genomes? Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 52, 611-639. (abstract)

Brocklehurst N, and Field DJ (2024), Tip dating and Bayes factors provide insight into the divergences of crown bird clades across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, Proc. R. Soc. B 291, e:20232618. (pdf)

Burleigh JG, Kimball RT, and Braun EL (2015), Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 84, 53-63. (abstract)

Chen A, and Field DJ (2020)Phylogenetic definitions for Caprimulgimorphae (Yves) and major constituent clades under the International Code of Phylogenetic Nomenclature, Vertebr. Zool. 70, 571-585. (pdf)

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Crouch NMA, Ramanauskas K, and Igic B (2019), Tip-dating and the origin of Telluraves, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 131, 55-63. (abstract)

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Field DJ, Berv JS, Hsiang AY, Lanfear R, Landis MJ, and Dornburg A (2019), Timing the extant avian radiation: the rise of modern birds, and the importance of modeling molecular rate variation, PeerJ Preprints. (pdf)

Field DJ, Benito J, Chen A, Jagt JWM, and Ksepka DT (2020), Late Cretaceous neornithine from Europe illuminates the origins of crown birds, Nature 579, 397-401. (abstract)

Gatesy J, and Springer MS (2022), Phylogenomic coalescent analyses of avian retroelements infer zero-length branches at the base of Neoaves, emergent support for controversial clades, and ancient introgressive hybridization in Afroaves, Genes 13, e:1167. (free pdf)

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Hackett SJ, Kimball RT, Reddy S, Bowie RCK, Braun EL, Braun MJ, Chojnowski JL, Cox WA, Han KL, Harshman J, Huddleston CJ, Marks BD, Miglia KJ, Moore WS, Sheldon FH, Steadman DW, Witt CC, and Yuri T (2008), A phylogenetic study of birds reveals their evolutionary history, Science 320, 1763-67. (abstract)

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Kimball RT, Oliveros CH, Wang N, White ND, Barker FK, Field DJ, Ksepka DT, Chesser RT, Moyle RG, Braun MJ, Brumfield RT, Faircloth BC, Smith BT, and Braun EL (2019),  A phylogenomic supertree of birds, Diversity 11, e:109. (pdf)

Ksepka DT, Stidham TA, and Williamson TE (2017), Early Paleocene landbird supports rapid phylogenetic and morphological diversification of crown birds after the K-Pg mass extinction, PNAS 114, 8047-52. (pdf)

Kuhl H, Frankl-Vilches C, Bakker A, Mayr G, Nikolaus G, Boerno ST, Klages S, Timmermann B, and Gahr M (2021), An unbiased molecular approach using  3'UTRs resolves the avian family-level tree of life, Mol. Biol. Evol. 38, 108-127. (pdf)

McCormack JE, Harvey MG, Faircloth BC, Crawford NG, Glenn TC, and Brumfield RT (2013), A phylogeny of birds based on over 1,500 loci collected by target enrichment and high-throughput sequencing, PLOS ONE 8, e:54848. (pdf)

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Prum RO, Berv JS, Dornburg A, Field DJ, Townsend JP, Lemmon EM, and Lemmon AR (2015), A comprehensive phylogeny of birds (Aves) using targeted next-generation DNA sequencing, Nature 526, 569-57. (abstract)

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Sangster G (2005), A name for the clade formed by owlet-nightjars, swifts and hummingbirds (Aves), Zootaxa 799, 1-6. (pdf)

Sangster G, and Mayr G (2021), Feraequornithes; a name for the clade formed by Procellariiformes, Sphenisciformes, Ciconiiformes, Suliformes and Pelecaniformes (Aves), Vertebr. Zool. 71, 49-53. (free pdf)

Sangster G, Braun EL, Johansson US, Kimball RT, Mayr G, and Suh A (2022), Phylogenetic definitions for 25 higher-level clade names of birds, Avian Res. e:100027. (free reading) 

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Tamashiro RA, White ND, Braun MJ, Faircloth BC, Braun EL, and Kimball RT (2019), What are the roles of taxon sampling and model fit in tests of cyto-nuclear discordance using avian mitogenomic data?, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 130, 132-142. (abstract)

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Wu S, Rheindt FE, Zhang J, Wang J, Zhang L, Quan C, Li Z, Wang M, Wu F, Qu Y, Edwards SV, Zhou Z, and Liu L (2024), Genomes, fossils, and the concurrent rise of modern birds and flowering plants in the Late Cretaceous, PNAS 121. (pdf)

Yuri T, Kimball RT, Harshman J, Bowie RCK, Braun MJ, Chojnowski JL, Han KL, Hackett SJ, Huddleston CJ, Moore WS, Reddy S, Sheldon FH, Steadman DW, Witt CC, and Braun EL (2013), Parsimony and model-based analyses of indels in avian nuclear genes reveal congruent and incongruent phylogenetic signals, Biology 2, 419-444. (pdf)