The nine-primaried oscines are a group of songbird families from the superfamily Passeroidea. It is composed of the Fringillidae (finches and Hawaiian honeycreepers), Emberizidae (buntings, American sparrows etc.), Parulidae (New World warblers), Thraupidae (tanagers), Cardinalidae (cardinals), Icteridae (icterids) and the monotypic Peucedramidae (Olive Warbler). The name of this group arises from the fact that all species within it have only nine easily visible primary feathers on each wing (in reality most, if not all, also have a 10th primary, but it is greatly reduced and largely concealed).
These families (with the possible exception of the Fringillidae) appear to form a clade; the status of the peculiar Olive Warbler and the distinct Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) need to be clarified. In most bird classifications, this group is placed at the end of the taxonomic sequence.
In the Sibley-Ahlquist classification, the nine-primaried oscines are treated as a single family (Fringillidae sensu Sibley & Ahlquist). As noted above, this is not correct as they defined it, and in any case has not found widespread support. A more common scheme, often used by American ornithologists, is to treat most of these groups in a vastly expanded Emberizidae, but this is also likely to be overlumping.
- Hall, K. S. K. (2005). Do nine-primaried passerines have nine or ten primary feathers? The evolution of a concept. J Ornithol 146: 121–126.
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