This order comprises the following families:

  • Rhamphastidae (toucans)
  • Semnornithidae (Pring-billed Barbet & Toucan Barbet)
  • Capitonidae (American barbets)
  • Megalaimidae (Asian barbets)
  • Lybiidae (African barbets & tinkerbirds)
  • Indicatoridae (honeyguides)
  • Picidae (woodpeckers)
  • Bucconidae (puffbirds)
  • Galbulidae (jacamars)

Genus-level timetree of extant Piciformes with the interfamilial relationhips and divergence times being based on Prum et al. (2015), Ostrow et al. (2023), and Stiller et al. (2024). The distribution of each family is indicated by the colour-code used throughout this website (Distribution code). Intrafamilial relationships and divergence times for Bucconidae and Galbulidae are taken from Witt (2004) and Ferreira (2018). 


Phylogeny of extant Picidae combining the results of Dufort (2016), Shakya et al. (2017) and Navarro-Siguenza et al. (2017). The distribution of each family is indicated by the colour-code used throughout this website (Distribution code).


Species-level classification of extant Picidae. 


Benz BW, Robbins MB, and Peterson AT (2006), Evolutionary history of woodpeckers and allies (Aves: Picidae): placing key taxa on the phylogenetic tree, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 40, 389-399. (abstract)

Benz BW, and Robbins MB (2011), Molecular phylogenetics, vocalizations, and species limits in Celeus woodpeckers (Aves: Picidae), Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 61, 29-44. (abstract)

Benz BW, Robbins MB, and Zimmer KJ (2015), Phylogenetic relationships of the Helmeted Woodpecker (Dryocopus galeatus): a case of interspecific mimicry?, Auk 132, 938-950. (pdf)

Bi D, Ding H, Wang Q, Jiang L, Lu W, Wu X, Zhu R, Zeng J, Zhou S, Yang X, and Kan X (2019), Two new mitogenomes of Picidae (Aves, Piciformes): sequence, structure and phylogenetic analyses, Int. J. Biol. Macromol. 133, 683-692. (abstract)

den Tex RJ, and Leonard JA (2013), A molecular phylogeny of Asian barbets: speciation and extiction in the tropics, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 68, 1-13. (abstract)

Du C, Liu L, Liu Y, and Fu Z (2020), The complete mitochondrial genome of the Eurasian wryneck Jynx torquilla (Aves: Piciformes: Picidae) and its  phylogenetic inference, Zootaxa 4810, 351-360. (abstract)

Dufort MJ (2016), An augmented supermatrix phylogeny of the avian family Picidae reveals uncertainty deep in the family tree, Mol. Phylogent. Evol. 94, 313-326. (abstract)

Ericson PGP, Anderson CL, Britton T, Elzanowski A, Johansson US, Källersjö M, Ohlson JI, Parsons TJ, Zuccon D, and Mayr G (2006), Diversification of Neoaves: integration of molecular sequence data and fossils. Biol. Lett. 2, 543-547. (abstract)

Ferreira M (2018), "Filogenia e biogeografia de tres famílias de aves do Neotrópico", Ph.D. dissertation, INPA Manaus. (pdf)

Ferreira M, Aleixo A, Ribas CC, and Santos MPD (2017), Biogeography of the Neotropical genus Malacoptila (Aves: Bucconidae): the influence of the Andean orogeny, Amazonian drainage evolution and palaeoclimate, J. Biogeogr. 44(4), 748-759. (abstract)

Fuchs J, and Pons JM (2015), A new classification of the Pied Woodpeckers assemblage (Dendropicini, Picidae) based on a comprehensive multi-locus phylogeny, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 88, 28-37. (abstract)

Fuchs J, Pons JM, and Bowie RCK (2017), Biogeography and diversification dynamics of the African woodpeckers, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 108, 88-100. (abstract, open manuscript)

Johansson US, and Ericson PGP (2003), Molecular support for a sister group relationship between Pici and Galbulae (Piciformes sensu Wetmore 1960), J. Avian Biol. 34, 185-197. (abstract) 

Kirwan GM, and Collar NJ (2020), Picus rafflesii Vigors, 1830, re-assigned to Chloropicoides Malherbe, 1849, Bull. Brit. Ornithol. Club 140, 147-150. (free 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)

Lutz HL, Weckstein JD, Patané JSL, Bates JM, and Aleixo A (2013), Biogeography and spatio-temporal diversification of Selenidera and Andigena Toucans (Aves: Ramphastidae), Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 69, 873-883. (abstract)

Moyle RG (2004), Phylogenetics of barbets (Aves: Piciformes) based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequence data, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 30, 187-200. (abstract)

Navarro-Sigüenza AG, Vázquez-Miranda H, Hernández-Alonso G, García-Trejo EA, and Sánchez-González LA (2017), Complex biogeographic scenarios revealed in the diversification of the largest woodpecker radiation in the New World, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 112, 53-67. (abstract)

Olson SL (1972), The generic distinction of the Hispaniolan Woodpecker, Chryserpes striatus (Aves: Picidae), Proc. Biol. Soc. Washingt. 85, 499-508. (free pdf)

Ostrow EN, Catanach TA, Bates JM, Aleixo A, and Weckstein JD (2023), Phylogenomic analysis confirms the relationships among toucans, toucan-barbets, and New World barbets but reveals paraphyly of Selenidera toucanets and evidence for mitonuclear discordance, Ornithology e:ukad022. (abstract)

Patané JSL, Weinstein JD, Aleixo A, and Bates JM (2009), Evolutionary history of Ramphastos toucans: molecular phylogenetics, temporal diversification, and biogeography, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 53, 923-934. (abstract)

Sangster G, Gaudin J, and and Fuchs J (2022), A new subfamily taxon for Sasia and Verreauxia (Picidae), Bull. Brit. Ornithol. Club 142, 478-479. (free pdf)

Sangster G, Gregory SMS, and Dickinson EC (2023), The correct authorship of the family-group name Nesoctitini (Picidae), Avian Syst. 2, N1-N3. (pdf)

Shakya SB, Fuchs J, Pons JM, and Sheldon FH (2017), Tapping the woodpecker tree for evolutionary insight, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 116, 182-191. (abstract)

Tamashiro RA, White NE, Braun MJ, Faircloth BC, Braun EL, and Kimball RE (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, 132-144. (pdf)

Witt CC (2004), “Rates of molecular evolution and their application to neotropical avian biogeography”, Ph.D. dissertation, Louisiana State University. (free pdf)