Traditionally, this order comprises only a single family, Falconidae (falcons, carcaras). More recently, however, it has been suggested to recognise two families, Falconidae and Herpetotheridae. 


Timetree of Falconidae, with the distribution of each genus/monotypic species being indicated by the colour-code used throughout this website (see Distribution colour code).



Fuchs, J., J.A. Johnson, and D.P. Mindell (2012), Molecular systematics of the caracaras and allies (Falconidae: Polyborinae) inferred from mitochondrial and

nuclear sequence data, Ibis 154, 520-532. (abstract)

Fuchs, J., J.A. Johnson, and D.P. Mindell (2015), Rapid diversification of falcons (Aves: Falconidae) due to expansion of open habitats in the Late Miocene,

Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 82, 166-182. (abstract)

Griffiths, C.S., G.F. Barrowclough, J.G. Groth and L.A. Mertz (2004), Phylogeny of the Falconidae (Aves): a comparison of the efficacy of morphological,

mitochondrial, and nuclear data, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 32, 101-109. (abstract)

Liu, G., L. Zhou, and G. Zhao (2019), Complete mitochondrial genomes of five raptors and implications for the phylogenetic relationships between owls and


nightjars, PeerJ Preprints, publ: 12 Jan 2019. DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.27478v1. (pdf)

Mindell, D.P., J. Fuchs, and J.A. Johnson (2018), Phylogeny, taxonomy, and geographic diversity of diurnal raptors: Falconiformes, Accipitriformes, and

Cathartiformes, In: Sarasola, J.H. et al., Birds of prey, Chapter 1, 3-32. Springer.  (abstract)