This order, the parrots, comprises the following families: 

  • Psittacidae (African and American Parrots)
  • Psittrichasidae (Vasa Parrots and Pesquet's Parrot)
  • Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
  • Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)
  • Strigopidae (Strigops habroptila, Kakapo) 
  • Nestoridae (Nestor, Kea & Kaka)

Genus-level timetree of extant Psittaciformes, with the distribution of each genus being indicated by the colour-code used throughout this website (Distribution code). The timetree is based on Smith et al. (2023, supplementary figure S27), with some temporal adjustments taken from Stiller et al. (2024). Genera that proved to be non-monophyletic are indicated in red.


Species-level classification of extant Psittaciformes based on Joseph et al. (2012), Gregory & Sangster (2023), Sangster et al. (2023), and Smith et al. (2023). Composition of the Calyptorhynchinae follows Saunders et al. (2023). Non-monophyletic genera are highlighted in red. 


Braun MP, Datzmann T, Arndt T, Reinschmidt M, Schnitker H, Bahr N, Sauer-Gürth H, and Wink M (2019), A molecular phylogeny for the genus Psittacula sensu lato (Aves: Psittaciformes: Psittacidae: Psittacula, Psittinus, Tanygnathus, Mascarinus), Zootaxa 4563, e:1. (abstract)

Burgio KR, Davis KE, Dreiss LM, Cisneros LM, Klingbeil BT, Presley SL, and Willig MR (2019), Phylogenetic supertree and functional trait database for all extant parrots, Data in Brief 24, e:103882 (pdf)

de Kloet RS, and de Kloet SR (2005), The evolution of the spindlin gene in birds: sequence analysis of an intron of the spindlin W and Z gene reveals four major divisions of the Psittaciformes, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 36, 706-721. (abstract)

Gregory SMS, and Sangster G (2023), The correct family-group names of two parrot clades (Psittaciformes: Amazonini and Proboscigerini), Avian Syst. 1, N55-N66. (pdf)

Hingston AB (2022), Hybridization between wild non-congeneric parrots may be more common than previously thought, Ibis 164, 603-605. (pdf)

Johansson US, Ericson PGP, Blom MPK, and Irestedt M (2018), The phylogenetic position of the extinct Cuban Macaw Ara tricolor based on complete mitochondrial genome sequences. Ibis 160, 666-672. (abstract)

Joseph L, Toon A, Schirtzinger EE, Wright TF, and Schodde R (2012), A revised nomenclature and classification for family-group taxa of parrots (Psittaciformes), Zootaxa 3205, 26-40. (abstract)

Joseph L, Merwin J, and Smith BT (2020), Improved systematics of lorikeets reflects their evolutionary history and frames conservation priorities, Emu 120, 201-215. (abstract)

Kim JI, Do TD, Choi Y, Yeo Y, and Kim CB (2021), Characterization and comparative analysis of complete mitogenomes of three Cacatua parrots (Psittaciformes: Cacatuidae), Genes 12, e:209. (free pdf)

Kolchanova S, Komissarov A, Kliver S, Mazo-Vargas A, Afanador Y, Velez-Valentín J, de la Rosa RV, Castro-Marquez S, Rivera-Colon I, Majeske AJ, Wolfsberger WW, Hains T, Corvelo A, Martinez-Cruzado JC, Glenn TC, Robinson O, Koepfli KP, and Oleksyk TK (2021), Molecular phylogeny and evolution of Amazon parrots in the Greater Antilles, Genes 12:608. (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)

Kundu S, Jones CG, Prys-Jones RP, and Groombridge JJ (2012), The evolution of the Indian Ocean parrots (Psittaciformes): extinction, adaptive radiation and eustacy, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 62, 296-305. (abstract)

Lima NCB, Soares AER, de Paula Almeida LG, da Costa IR, Sato FM, Schneider P, Aleixo A, Schneider MP, Santos FR, Mello CV, Miyaki C, Vasconcelos ATR, and Prosdocimi F (2018), Comparative mitogenomic analyses of Amazona parrots and Psittaciformes, Genet. Mol. Biol. 41, 593-604. (pdf)

Liu H, Yang Y, Xu N, Chen R, Fu Z, and Huang S (2019), Characterization and comparison of complete mitogenomes of three parrot species (Psittaciformes: Psittacidae), Mitochondrial DNA Part B 4, 1851-52. (pdf)

Mitchell KJ, Hugall AF, Heiniger H, Joseph L, and Oliver PM (2021), Disparate origins for endemic bird taxa from the “Gondwana Rainforests” of Central Eastern Australia, Biol. J. Linn. Soc., blab031. (pdf)

Morín Lagos JG (2021), A comprehensive mitogenome phylogeny of the avian tribe Arini (Arinae: Psittacidae) with emphasis in Pyrrhura species, PhD thesis, Norwegian University of Science and Technology. (pdf)

Padilla-Jacobo G, Monterrubio-Rico TC, Canó-Camacho H, and Zavala-Páramo MG (2023), Origin and diversification of the genera Aratinga, Eupsittula and Psittacara (Aves: Psittacidae), [preprint] Research Square, posted 01 Mar 2023. (pdf)

Provost KL, Joseph L, and Smith BT (2018), Resolving a phylogenetic hypothesis for parrots: implications from systematics to conservation, Emu 118, 7-21. (abstract)

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, 569-573. (abstract)

Rheindt FE, Christidis L, Kuhn S, de Kloet S, Normann JA, and Fidler A (2014), The timing and diversification within the most divergent parrot clade. J. Avian Biol. 45, 140-148. (abstract)

Ribas CC, Joseph L, and Miyaki CY (2006), Molecular systematics and patterns of diversification in Pyrrhura (Psittacidae), with special reference to the picta-leucotis complex, Auk 123, 660-680. (pdf)

Sangster G, Gregory SMS, and Dickinson EC (2023), Forpini and Touitini, two new family-group names for Neotropical parrotlets and parakeets (Psittaciformes: Arinae), Avian Syst. 1, 51-54. (pdf) 

Saunders DA, and Pickup G (2023), A review of the taxonomy and distribution of Australia’s endemic Calyptorhynchinae black cockatoos, Aust. Zool. 43, 145-191. (free pdf)

Schirtzinger EE, Tavares ES, Gonzales LA, Eberhard JR, Miyaki CY, Sanchez JJ, Hernandez A, Müeller H, Graves GR, Fleischer RC, and Wright TF (2012), Multiple independent origins of mitochondrial control region duplications in the order Psittaciformes, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 64, 342-356. (pdf)

Schodde R, Remsen JV, Schirtzinger EE, Joseph L, and Wright TF (2013), Higher classification of New World parrots (Psittaciformes; Arinae), with diagnoses of tribes, Zootaxa 3691, 591-596. (abstract)

Schweizer M, Seehausen O, Güntert M, and Hertwig ST (2010), The evolutionary diversification of parrots supports a taxon pulse model with multiple trans-oceanic dispersal events and local radiations, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 54, 984-994. (abstract)

Schweizer M, Güntert M, and Hertwig ST (2013), Out of the Bassian province: historical biogeography of the Australasian platycercine parrots (Aves, Psittaciformes), Zool. Scr. 42, 13-27. (abstract)

Schweizer M, Wright TF, Peñalba JV, Schirtzinger EE, and Joseph L (2015), Molecular phylogenetics suggests a New Guinean origin and frequent episodes of founder-event speciation in the nectarivorous lories and lorikeets (Aves: Psittaciformes), Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 90, 34-48. (abstract)

Smith BT, Mauck WM, Benz BW, and Andersen MJ (2020), Uneven missing data skew phylogenomic relationships within the lories and lorikeets, Genome Biol. Evol. 12, 1131-47. (pdf)

Smith BT, Merwin J, Provost KL, Thom G, Brumfield RT, Ferreira M, Mauck WM, Moyle RG, Wright TF, and Joseph L (2023), Phylogenomic analysis of the parrots of the world distinguishes artifactual from biological sources of gene tree discordance, Syst. Biol. 72, 228-241. (free pdf)

Tavares ES, Baker AJ, Pereira SL, and Miyaki CY (2006), Phylogenetic relationships and historical biogeography of Neotropical parrots (Psittaciformes: Psittacidae: Arini) inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences, Syst. Biol. 55, 454-470. (pdf)

Urantówka AD, Kroczak A, and Mackiewicz P (2017), The influence of molecular markers and methods on inferring the phylogenetic relationships between the representatives of the Arini (parrots, Psittaciformes), determined on the basis of their complete mitochondrial genomes, BMC Evol. Biol. 17, e:166. (free pdf)

Urantówka AD, Kroczak A, Silva T, Padrón RZ, Gallardo NF, Blanch J, and Mackiewicz P (2018), New insight into parrots’ mitogenomes indicates that their ancestor contained a duplicated region, Mol. Biol. Evol. 35, 2989- 3009. (free pdf)

White NE, Phillips MJ, Gilbert MTP, Alfaro-Núñez A, Willerslev E, Mawson PR, Spencer PBS, and Bunce M (2011), The evolutionary history of cockatoos (Aves: Psittaciformes: Cacatuidae), Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 59, 615-622. (abstract)

Wright TFSchirtzinger EE, Matsumoto T, Eberhard JR, Graves GR, Sanchez JJ, Capelli S, Müller H, Scharpegge J, Chambers GK, and Fleischer RC (2008), A multilocus molecular phylogeny of the parrots (Psittaciformes): support for a Gondwanan origin during the Cretaceous, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 25, 2141-56. (pdf)