Gruimorphae: Gruiformes

This order comprises two superfamilies with three families each: 


- Heliornithidae

- Sarothruridae

- Rallidae



- Gruidae

- Aramidae

- Psophiidae


Timetree of Gruiformes according to Prum et al. (2015) and Boast et al. (2019), with the distribution of each taxon being indicated by the colour-code used throughout this website (see Distribution colour code). Despite the mitogenome-based phylogenetic study of Krajewski et al. (2010), the interrelations among species of the genus Grus are not finally resolved (in particular the position of Grus/Leucogeranus leucogeranus), since their results may be affected by the occurrence of an extended gene duplication (Akiyama et al., 2017; Wang et al., 2018). 

Timetree of Rallidae according to Boast et al. (2019) and Garcia-R. et al. (2014), with the distribution of each taxon being indicated by the colour-code used throughout this website (see Distribution colour code). The presented cladogram represents rather a backbone, since quite a number of genera are not yet included (Aenigmatolimnas, Cyanolimnas, Gymnocrex, Pareudiastes, Rallicula, Rougetius). 


Akiyama, T., C. Nishida, K. Momose, M. Onuma, K. Takami and R. Masuda (2017), Gene duplication and concerted evolution of mitochondrial DNA in crane

species, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 106, 158-163. DOI: (abstract)

Boast, A.P., B. Chapman, M.B. Herrera, T.H. Worthy, R.P. Scofield, A.J.D. Tennyson, P. Houde, M. Bunce, A. Cooper and K.J. Mitchell (2019), Mitochondrial

genomes from New Zealand´s extinct adzebills (Aves: Aptornithidae: Aptornis) support a sister-taxon relationship with the Afro-Madagascan Sarothruridae, Diversity 11(24). DOI: (pdf)

Chen, P., Z. Huang, C. Zhu, Y. Han, Z. Xu, G. Sun, Z. Zhang, D. Zhao, G. Ge and L. Ruan (2020), Complete mitochondrial genome and phylogenetic analysis

of Gruiformes and Charadriiformes, Pakistan J. Zool. 52(2), 425-439. DOI: 10.17582/journal.pjz/20190603010623. (pdf)

Garcia-R., J.C., G.C. Gibb and S.A. Trewick (2014), Deep global evolutionary radiation in birds: Diversification and trait evolution in the cosmopolitan bird

family Rallidae, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 81, 96-108. DOI: (abstract)

Garcia-R., J.C. and S.A. Trewick (2015), Dispersal and speciation in purple swamphens (Rallidae: Porphyrio), Auk. 132, 140-155. DOI: 10.1642/AUK-14-

114.1. (pdf)

Gill., F., and D. Donsker (2019), Flufftails, finfoots, rails, trumpeters, cranes, limpkin, World Bird List Version 9.2. (link)

Krajewski, C., J,T. Sipiorski and F.E. Anderson (2010), Complete mitochondrial genome sequences and the phylogeny of cranes (Gruiformes: Gruidae),

Auk 127, 440-452. (pdf)

Mayr, G. (2019), Hypotarsus morphology of the Ralloidea supports a clade comprising Sarothrura and Mentocrex to the exclusion of Canirallus, Acta

Ornithol. 54(1), 51-58. DOI: (abstract)

Musser, G.M. and J. Cracraft (2019), A new morphological dataset reveals a novel relationship for the adzebills of New Zealand (Aptornis) and provides a

foundation for total evidence neoavian phylogenetics, Am. Mus. Novit. 3927, 1-70. DOI: (abstract)

Musser, G., D.T. Ksepka and D.J. Field (2019), New material of Paleocene-Eocene Pellornis (Aves: Gruiformes) clarifies the pattern and timing of the

extant gruiform radiation, Diversity 11, 102. DOI: (pdf)

Prum, R.O., J.S. Berv, A. Dornburg, D.J. Field, J.P. Townsend, E.M. Lemmon and A.R. Lemmon (2015), A comprehensive phylogeny of birds (Aves) using

targeted next-generation DNA sequencing, Nature 526, 569-57. (abstract)

Stervander, M., P.G. Ryan, M. Melo and B. Hansson (2019), The origin of the world´s smallest flightless bird, the Inaccessible Island Rail Atlantisia rogersi

(Aves: Rallidae), Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 130, 92-98. DOI: (pdf)

Wang, T., H. Wang, Z. Zhao, Z. Wang, L. Mu and H. Yu (2018), Complete mitochondrial genome of the Siberian Crane Grus leucogeranus, Mitochondrial

DNA Part B 3:2, 575-576. DOI: 10.1080/23802359.2018.1467224. (pdf)

Yang, R., X. Wu, P. Yan, X. Su, and B. Yang (2009) Complete mitochondrial genome of Otis tarda (Gruiformes: Otididae) and phylogeny of Gruiformes

inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences, Mol. Biol. Rep. 37(7), 3057-3066. DOI: 10.1007/s11033-009-9878-7. (pdf)