List of fossil bird genera

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For a list of birds extinct in Late Quaternary prehistoric times and (usually) known from specimens not completely fossilized, see Late Quaternary prehistoric birds. For birds that have gone extinct since the year 1500, see List of extinct birds.
A replica of the Berlin specimen of Archaeopteryx, most famous of prehistoric "birds".
Modern research considers it unlikely to be a bird ancestor, though it was certainly a close relative of these.

Birds are generally believed to have evolved from certain feathered theropod dinosaurs, and there is no real dividing line between birds and dinosaurs, except of course that some of the former survived the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event while the latter did not. For the purposes of this article, a 'bird' is considered to be any member of the clade Aves sensu lato.[1] Some dinosaur groups which may or may not be true birds are listed below under 'Proto-birds'.

This page contains a listing of prehistoric bird taxa only known from completely fossilized specimens. These extinctions took place before the Late Quaternary and thus took place in the absence of significant human interference. While the earliest hominids had been eating birds and especially their eggs, human population and technology was simply insufficient to seriously affect healthy bird populations until the Upper Paleolithic Revolution. Rather, reasons for the extinctions listed here are stochastic abiotic events such as bolide impacts, climate change due to orbital shifts, mass volcanic eruptions etc. Alternatively, species may have gone extinct due to evolutionary displacement by successor or competitor taxa – it is notable that an extremely large number of seabirds have gone extinct during the mid-Tertiary; this seems at least partly due to competition by the contemporary radiation of marine mammals.

The relationships of these taxa are often hard to determine, as many are known only from very fragmentary remains and due to the complete fossilization precluding analysis of information from DNA, RNA or protein sequencing. The taxa listed in this article should be classified with the Wikipedia conservation status category "Fossil".

Before the late 19th century, when minerals were still considered one of the kingdoms of binomial nomenclature, fossils were often treated according to a parallel taxonomy. Rather than assigning them to animal or plant genera, they were treated as mineral genera and given binomial names typically using Osteornis ("bone-bird") or Ornitholithus ("bird fossil") as "genus". The latter name, however, is still in use for an oogenus of fossil bird eggs. Also, other animals (in particular pterosaurs) were placed in these "genera". In sources pre-dating the Linnean system, the above terms are also seen in the more extensive descriptions used to name taxa back then.

Taxonomic list of fossil prehistoric birds[edit]

Higher-level taxa are presented in likely or suspected phylogenetic order. Genus-level taxa and lower are sorted chronologically, in ascending order (i.e., older taxa first).

The higher-level groups of non-Neornithes are arranged based on the phylogeny proposed by Luis Chiappe,[2] updated and expanded to incorporate recent research.[3] The categories are inclusive in ascending order.

Taxonomic assignments, especially in the pygostylian to early neornithine genera, are still very provisional and subject to quite frequent change.

Basal Avialae (extinct)[edit]

The most primitive "birds", usually still possessing a long bony tail with generally unfused vertebrae. Not all of these may be on the line of bird ancestors; whether they are not closer to other theropods groups than to the Avialae remains to be thoroughly tested (see Xiaotingia).

Basal Pygostylia (extinct)[edit]

The earliest birds with a modern pygostyle: a reduction and fusion of the tail vertebrae; possibly a paraphyletic group. Two types of pygostyle are known, a rod-shaped one found in Confuciusornithidae, Enantiornithes and some non-avian theropods such as Nomingia, and a plowshare-shaped one, only known in the lineage leading to modern birds. It is not certain that the pygostyles found in birds are indeed synapomorphies.[4]

Enantiornithes (extinct)[edit]

Reconstruction of Iberomesornis romerali, a tiny primitive enantiornithine.
It was no bigger than a modern-day finch.

The taxonomic list of enantiornithine groups presented here follows a summary published by Thomas R. Holz, Jr. in 2011.[5]


Note that Holtz (2011) also included Zhyraornis in his classification of euenantiornithines, though this genus is more often classified as an ornithuran.[11] Holtz also placed Liaoningornis as an ornithuromorph, though more recent studies have placed it as a close relative of Eoalulavis.[12]

Basal Euornithes (extinct)[edit]

Also called "basal Ornithuromorpha".[13] Essentially modern birds, except many still possess a few primitive features such as teeth or wing claws. These have the plowshare-shaped pygostyle and proper tail fan as seen in most living birds. The taxonomy of this group is confusing; the name "Ornithurae" was first proposed by Ernst Haeckel in 1866 and has been revised in meaning several times since.

The following is a list of primitive euornithian genera and those that cannot be confidently referred to any subgroups, following Holtz (2011).[5]

Note that Holtz also included the genera Eurolimnornis, Holbotia, Palaeocursornis and Piksi as euornitheans, though they have since been re-identified as pterosaurs.[14]

Basal Ornithurae (extinct)[edit]


Large, toothed, loon-like diving birds.


The subclass that contains all modern birds.

Unresolved and basal forms
These modern birds are known from remains that cannot be placed in relation to any one modern group and are neither autapomorphic enough to assign them to own orders. Especially the Late Cretaceous/early Paleogene taxa are probably basal to several modern orders, while later Paleogene taxa often represent extinct lineages outside the modern families.

  • Australornis lovei Mayr & Scofield 2014 (late early Paleocene)
  • Gallornis straeleni Lambrecht 1931 (Late Cretaceous)
  • Ceramornis major Brodkorb 1963 (Late Cretaceous) – charadriiform?
  • †"Presbyornithidae" gen. et sp. indet. (Barun Goyot Late Cretaceous of Udan Sayr, Mongolia) - anseriform (presbyornithid)?
  • Teviornis gobiensis Kuročkin, Dyke & Karhu 2002 (Late Cretaceous) – presbyornithid?
  • Torotix clemensi Brodkorb 1963 (Late Cretaceous) – pelecaniform, charadriiform, procellariiform or phoenicopteriform
  • Neornithes incerta sedis "Kurochkin 1995" (Nemegt Late Cretaceous of S Mongolia) - phalacrocoracid?
  • Neornithes incerta sedis AMNH FR 25272 (Lance Creek Late Cretaceous of Converse County, US) - phalacrocoracid?
  • Neornithes incerta sedis PVPH 237 (Portezuelo Late Cretaceous of Sierra de Portezuelo, Argentina) - galliform?
  • Neornithes incerta sedis UCMP 117598 (Hell Creek Late Cretaceous of Bug Creek West, US)
  • Neornithes incerta sedis UCMP 117599 (Hell Creek Late Cretaceous of Bug Creek West, US) – anseriform?
  • "Lonchodytes" pterygius Brodkorb 1963 (Late Cretaceous/?Early Palaeocene) – charadriiform?
  • Novacaesareala hungerfordi Parris & Hope 2002 (Late Cretaceous/Early Palaeocene) – related to Torotix?
  • "Palaeotringa" vetus Marsh 1870 (Lance Late Cretaceous of Wyoming – Hornerstown Late Cretaceous/?Early Palaeocene of New Jersey, US) - gruiform? anseriform (presbyornithid)?
  • Volgavis marina Nessov & Jarkow 1989 (Early Palaeocene of Volgograd, Russia) – charadriiform? phalacrocoraciform?
  • Eopuffinus kazachstanensis Nessov 1986 (Late Paleocene of Zhylga, Kazakhstan) – procellariiform (procellariid)?
  • Tshulia litorea Nessov 1988 (Late Paleocene of Zhylga, Kazakhstan)
  • Eupterornis remensis Lemoine 1878 (Paleocene of Cernay, France) – charadriiform (larid?)? gaviiform?
  • Gradiornis walbeckensis Mayr 2007 (Paleocene of Walbeck, Germany) – cariamid?
  • "Messelornis" russelli (Paleocene of Cernay, France) – messelornithid?
  • Walbeckornis creber Mayr 2007 (Paleocene of Walbeck, Germany) – charadriiform? messelornithid?
  • Neornithes incerta sedis (Late Paleocene/Early Eocene of Ouled Abdoun Basin, Morocco) – charadriiform, ciconiiform, gruiform?
  • Argillipes Harrison & Walker 1977 (London Clay Early Eocene of England) – galliform?
  • Coturnipes cooperi Harrison & Walker 1977 (Early Eocene of England, and Virginia, US?)– galliform, falconiform?
  • Fluviatitavis antunesi Harrison 1983 (Early Eocene of Silveirinha, Portugal)– charadriiform?
  • Mopsitta tanta Waterhouse et al. 2008 (Early Eocene) – threskiornithid (may belong in Rhynchaeites), psittacid?
  • Neanis schucherti Shufeldt 1913 (Early Eocene)– coraciiform (primobucconid), piciform?
  • Paleophasianus meleagroides Wetmore 1940 (Willwood Early Eocene of Bighorn County, US)– galliform (tetraonine or cracid) or gruiform (aramid)?
  • Paracathartes howardae Harrison 1979 (Early Eocene of WC US) – lithornithiform?
  • Parvigyps praecox Harrison & Walker 1977 (London Clay Early Eocene of England) – falconiform?
  • Pediorallus Harrison 1984 (London Clay Early Eocene of England) – lithornithiform or galliform?
  • Percolinus (London Clay Early Eocene of England)– galliform?
  • Precursor parvus (Early Eocene)– several species? psittaciform (pseudasturid or psittacid) + charadriiform (glareolid)?
  • "Precursor" litorum Harrison & Walker 1977
  • "Precursor" magnus Harrison & Walker 1977
  • Procuculus minutus Harrison & Walker 1977 (Early Eocene of Bognor Regis, England)– cuculiform (parvicuculid), coraciiform (primobucconid), close to Primapus?
  • Pulchrapollia Dyke & Cooper 2000 (Early Eocene) – psittaciform (pseudasturid or psittacid)?
  • Neornithes incerta sedis USNM 496384 (Nanjemoy Early Eocene of Virginia, US)– parvicuculid? aegithalornithid?
  • Palaeopsittacus georgei Harrison 1982b (Early – middle Eocene of NW Europe) – caprimulgiform (podargid?) or quercypsittid?
  • Amitabha urbsinterdictensis Gulas-Wroblewski & Wroblewski 2003 (Bridger middle Eocene of Forbidden City, US) - galliform (phasianid) or gruiform (rallid?)?
  • Eocathartes robustus Lambrecht 1935 (middle Eocene of Germany) – cathartid? Synonym of Strigogyps?
  • Eocathartes grallator Wetmore 1944 [Bathornis grallator (Wetmore 1944) Olson 1985]
  • Eociconia sangequanensis Hou 1989 (middle Eocene of China)– ciconiiform (ciconiid)?
  • Geiseloceros robustus Lambrecht 1935 (middle Eocene of Germany) – coraciiform? Synonym of Strigogyps?
  • Hassiavis laticauda Mayr 1998 (middle Eocene of Messel, Germany) – archaeotrogonid, piciform?
  • Protocypselomorphus manfredkelleri Mayr 2005 (middle Eocene of Messel, Germany)– caprimulgiform, apodiform or ancestral to both
  • Pumiliornis tessellatus Mayr 1999 (middle Eocene of Messel, Germany)
  • Eobalearica tugarinovi Gureev 1949 (Ferghana Late? Eocene of Ferghana, Uzbekistan)– gruiform (gruid)?
  • Ludiortyx hoffmanni (Gervais 1852) Brodkorb 1964 (Late Eocene) – rallid, quercymegapodid? [Includes Tringa hoffmanni Gervais 1852; Palaeortyx blanchardi Milne-Edwards 1869; Palaeortyx hoffmanni (Gervais 1852); Ludiortyx blanchardi (Milne-Edwards 1869); Eortyx hoffmanni (Gervais 1852)]
  • Minggangia changgouensis Hou 1982 (Late Eocene of China) – rallid, threskiornithid?
  • Petropluvialis (Late Eocene of England)– may be same as Palaeopapia; anseriform?
  • "Phasianus" alfhildae Shufeldt 1915 (Washakie B Late Eocene of Haystack Butte, US)– gruiform, ciconiiform, phoenicopteriform?
  • Talantatos Reichenbach 1852 (Late Eocene of Paris Bain, France) – gruiform (cariamid, idiornithid?)? Might include Elaphrocnemus and Filholornis
  • Telecrex grangeri Wetmore 1934 (Irdin Manha Late Eocene of Chimney Butte, Mongolia)– meleagrid or gruiform (rallid?)
  • Neornithes incerta sedis AMNH FR 2941 (Irdin Manha Late Eocene of Chimney Butte, China) – falconiform (accipitrid)? gruiform (Eogrus)?
  • Zheroia kurochkini Nesov 1988 (Late Eocene of Kazakhstan) – gruiform? pelagornithid?
  • "Falco" falconellus Shufeldt 1915 (or falconella; Eocene of Wyoming, US) – falconiform (falconid)?
  • Filholornis Milne-Edwards (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene of France) – musophagid, cracid, carimid, idiornithid? Possibly belongs in Talantatos
  • Geranopsis|Geranopsis hastingsiae Lydekker 1871 (Hordwell Late Eocene– Early Oligocene of England)– gruiform (gruid?) or anseriform (anseranatid?)?
  • Elaphrocnemus Milne-Edwards 1892 (Quercy Phosphorites Late Eocene–? middle Oligocene of Quercy, France) - idiornithid? Possibly belongs in Talantatos
  • Agnopterus Milne-Edwards 1868 (Late Eocene– Late Oligocene of Europe)– phoenicopteriform or anseriform
  • Plesiocathartes Gaillard 1908 (Late Eocene–? Early Miocene of SW Europe) - cathartid, leptosomid?
  • Botauroides parvus Shufeldt 1915 (Eocene of Wyoming, US) – coliiform?
  • Aminornis excavatus Ameghino 1899 (Deseado Early Oligocene of Rio Deseado, Argentina) – gruiform (aramid)?
  • Ciconiopsis antarctica Ameghino 1899 (Deseado Early Oligocene of Patagonia, Argentina) – ciconiiform (ciconiid)?
  • Climacarthrus incompletus Ameghino 1899 (Deseado Early Oligocene of Argentina) – falconiform (accipitrid)? A nomen dubium
  • Cruschedula revola Ameghino 1899 (Deseado Early Oligocene of Golfo San Jorge, Argentina) Aves incertae sedis; A nomen dubium
  • Dolicopterus (Early Oligocene of Ronzon, France) – charadriiform (charadriid)? Not Dolichopterus as sometimes claimed
  • Loncornis erectus Ameghino 1899 (Deseado Early Oligocene of Rio Deseado, Argentina)– gruiform (aramid)?
  • Loxornis clivus Ameghino 1894– anatid? (Deseado Early Oligocene of Argentina)
  • Manu antiquus Marples 1946 (Early Oligocene) – pelagornithid? procellariiform (diomedeid)?
  • Palaeocrex rex Wetmore 1927 (Early Oligocene of Trigonias Quarry, US) – gruiform (rallid)?
  • Palaeopapia Harrison & Walker 1979 [Howardia Harrison & Walker 1976 non Berlese & Leonardi 1896] (Hampstead Early Oligocene of Isle of Wight, England) – anseriform?
  • Paracygnopterus (Early Oligocene of Belgium and England) – anseriform (anatid)?
  • "Pararallus" hassenkampi Martini 1967 (Sieblos Dysodil Early Oligocene of Sieblos, Germany)
  • Riacama caliginea Ameghino 1899 (Deseado Early Oligocene of Argentina) – gruiform?
  • Smiliornis penetrans Ameghino 1899 (Deseado Early Oligocene of Argentina) – gruiform?
  • Teracus Milne-Edwards 1871 (Early Oligocene of France)
  • Teleornis Ameghino 1899 (Deseado Early Oligocene of Argentina) – anatid?
  • Pseudolarus guaraniticus Ameghino 1899 (Deseado Early Oligocene – Miocene of Argentina) – gruiform?
  • Neornithes incerta sedis BMNH PAL 4989 (Hampstead Early Oligocene of Isle of Wight, England) – formerly "Ptenornis" and included in Headonornis; anseriform?
  • "Anas" creccoides van Beneden 1871 (Early-mid Oligocene of Belgium) – anseriform?
  • "Charadrius" sheppardianus (Florissant middle Oligocene of Florissant, US) – charadriiform (charadriid?)
  • Megagallinula harundinea Kuročkin 1968 (Indricotherium middle Oligocene of Chelkar-Teniz, Kazakhstan)
  • "Palaeorallus" alienus Kuročkin 1968 (middle Oligocene of Tatal-Gol, Mongolia) – galliform?
  • "Vanellus" selysii van Beneden 1871 (middle Oligocene of Rupelmonde, Belgium) – charadriiform (charadriid)?
  • Anserpica kiliani Mourer-Chauviré, Berthet & Hugueney 2004 (Late Oligocene of France) – gruiform (gruid?) or anseriform (anseranatid?)?
  • Gnotornis Wetmore 1942 (Brule Late Oligocene of Shannon County, US) – gruiform (aramid)?
  • Guguschia nailiae Aslanova & Burčak-Abramovič 1968 (Late Oligocene of Pirəkəşkül, Azerbaijan) – anseriform (anserine)? pelagornithid (same as Caspiodontornis)?
  • Tiliornis (Late? Oligocene of Argentina) – phoenicopteriform? A nomen dubium
  • Neornithes incerta sedis QM F40203 (Late Oligocene of Riversleigh, Australia) – gruiform (rallid)?
  • Gaviella pusilla Shufeldt 1915 (Oligocene? of Wyoming, US)– gaviiform? plotopterid?
  • "Anas" skalicensis Bayer 1882 (Early Miocene of "Skalitz", Czechia) - anseriform?
  • Chenornis graculoides Portis 1884 (Early Miocene) - Anseriformes (Anatidae) or Pelecaniformes (Phalacrocoracidae)?
  • "Propelargus" olseni Brodkorb 1963 (Hawthorne Early Miocene of Tallahassee, US) – ciconiiform?
  • Neornithes incerta sedis MNHN SA 1259-1263 (Early/Middle Miocene of Sansan, France) – passeriform?
  • Anisolornis excavatus Ameghino 1891 (Santa Cruz Middle Miocene of Karaihen, Argentina) – gruiform, galliform, tinamiform?
  • "Ardea" perplexa Milne-Edwards 1869 (Middle Miocene of Sansan, France) – ardeid? strigiform?
  • "Cygnus herrenthalsi" van Beneden 1871 (Middle Miocene of Belgium)
  • "Anas" risgoviensis Ammon 1918 (Late Miocene of Bavaria, Germany) – anseriform?
  • "Ardea" aureliensis (Late Miocene of France) – ardeid?
  • Eoneornis (Miocene of Argentina) – anatid? A nomen dubium
  • Eutelornis (Miocene of Argentina) – anatid?
  • Protibis cnemialis Ameghino 1891 (Miocene of Argentina) – ciconiiform (threskiornithid)?
  • "Limnatornis" paludicola Milne-Edwards 1871 (Miocene of France) – coliid? phoeniculid?
  • "Picus" gaudryi (Miocene of France) – piciform?
  • "Ardea" lignitum (Late Pliocene of Germany) – ardeid? strigid (genus Bubo)?
  • Bathoceleus hyphalus Brodkorb 1959 (Pliocene of New Providence, Bahamas) – picid?
  • "Homalopus" – piciform? Preoccupied by a subgenus of Cryptocephalus leaf beetles described in 1835.
  • "Liptornis hesternus" Ameghino 1894 [Liptornis cuvierii] – pelecaniform (pelecanid)? A nomen dubium
  • Proceriavis martini Harrison & Walker 1979 – pelagornithid?
  • Protopelicanus cuvieri Reichenbach 1852 – pelecaniform (pelecanid)? pelagornithid?
  • Pseudocrypturus cercanaxius Houde 1988 (Green River Early/middle Eocene of C US)  – lithornithiform?
  • Archaeotrogonidae Wetmore 1926 – basal Cypselomorphae?
  • Cimolopterygidae Brodkorb 1963 – charadriiform?
  • Cladornithidae – pelecaniform?
  • Eocypselidae Harrison 1984 – apodiform (hemiprocnid?)? caprimulgiform? basal Cypselomorphae?
  • Eremopezidae Rothschild 1911 – pelecaniform? ratite?
  • Foratidae Olson 1992 – cuculiform?
  • Fluvioviridavidae Mayr 2005
  • Gracilitarsidae Mayr 2001 – close to Sylphornithidae?
  • Halcyornithidae Harrison & Walker 1972 – psittaciform (= Pseudasturidae?), coraciiform?
  • Juncitarsidae Peters 1987
  • Laornithidae Cracraft 1973 – charadriiform? gruiform? pelagornithid?
  • Lonchodytidae Brodkorb 1963
    • Lonchodytes estesi Brodkorb 1963 (Late Cretaceous/?Early Palaeocene) – gaviiform/pelecaniform? procellariiform?
  • Messelasturidae Mayr 2005 – accipitrid? basal to Strigiformes? psittaciform?
  • Onychopterygidae Cracraft 1971
  • Palaeospizidae – passeriform? coraciiform? coliiform?
  • Parvicuculidae Harrison 1982 – cypselomorph, cuculiform, coraciiform (primobucconid)?
  • Remiornithidae Martin 1992 (Paleocene of France) – palaeognath?
  • Sylphornithidae Mourer-Chauviré 1988 – cuculiform? coraciiform? close to Gracilitarsidae?
  • Tytthostonychidae Olson & Parris 1987 – procellariiform, pelecaniform?
  • Zygodactylidae Brodkorb 1971 – near passerine, includes Primoscenidae Harrison 1977
  • "Graculavidae" Fürbringer 1888 [Dakotornithidae; Scaniornithidae] – a paraphyletic form taxon, the "transitional shorebirds"


Ostrich and related ratites.

Lithornithiformes (extinct)[edit]


  • Tinamidae – tinamous
    • Querandiornis (Ensenada Early/Middle Pleistocene of Argentina)
    • Placement unresolved
      • Tinamidae gen. et sp. indet. MACN-SC Fleagle Collection (Early – Middle Miocene of S Argentina) - at least 2 species
    • Prehistoric species of extant genera


The group that includes modern ducks and geese.

  • Basal and unresolved forms
    • Vegavis (Late Cretaceous) – closer to Presbyornithidae and Anatidae than to Anseranatidae
    • Anatalavis (Late Cretaceous/Early Paleocene – Early Eocene) – anseranatid or basal. Includes "Telmatornis" rex.
    • Romainvillia (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene) – anseranatide or anatide
    • Proherodius (Early Eocene) – presbyornithid?
    • Paranyroca (Early Miocene) – anatide or own family?
  • Anhimidae – screamers
  • Dromornithidae – Australian mihirungs or "demon ducks". The youngest genus (Genyornis) was encountered by humans.
  • Anseranatidae – magpie-geese
    • Anseranatidae gen. et sp. nov (Late Oligocene)
  • Presbyornithidae
  • Anatidae – ducks, geese and swans
    • Eonessa (Middle Eocene)
    • Cygnavus (Early Oligocene – Early Miocene)
    • Cygnopterus (middle Oligocene – Early Miocene) – sometimes included in Cygnavus
    • Mionetta (Late Oligocene – Early Miocene) – includes "Anas" blanchardi, "A." consobrina, "A." natator
    • Australotadorna (Late Oligocene – Early Miocene)
    • Pinpanetta (Late Oligocene – Early Miocene)
    • Dunstanetta (Early/Middle Miocene)
    • Manuherikia (Early/Middle Miocene)
    • Matanas (Early/Middle Miocene)
    • Miotadorna (Early/Middle Miocene)
    • Megalodytes (Middle Miocene)
    • Sinanas (Middle Miocene)
    • Anserobranta (Late Miocene) – includes "Anas" robusta, validity doubtful
    • Dendrochen (Late Miocene) – includes "Anas" integra
    • Presbychen (Late Miocene)
    • Afrocygnus (Late Miocene – Early Pliocene)
    • Balcanas (Early Pliocene) – may belong in Tadorna
    • Wasonaka (Middle Pliocene)
    • Paracygnus (Late Pliocene)
    • Anabernicula (Late Pliocene? – Late Pleistocene)
    • Eremochen (Pliocene)
    • Tirarinetta (Pliocene)
    • Brantadorna (Middle Pleistocene)
    • Nannonetta (Late Pleistocene)
    • Aldabranas (Late Pleistocene)
    • Placement unresolved
      • "Anas" luederitzensis (Early Miocene)
      • "Oxyura" doksana (Early Miocene)
      • Anatidae gen. et sp. indet. MNZ S42797 (Early/Middle Miocene)
      • "Aythya" chauvirae (Middle Miocene) – 2 species
      • "cf. Megalodytes" (Middle Miocene)
      • Anatidae gen. et spp. indet. (Middle Miocene)
      • "Anas" meyerii (Middle Miocene)
      • "Anas" velox (Middle – Late? Miocene) – may include "A." meyerii
      • "Anas" albae (Late Miocene) – formerly in Mergus
      • "Anas" isarensis (Late Miocene)
      • "Anser" scaldii (Late Miocene)
      • Anatidae gen. et spp. indet. (Late Miocene)
      • "Anas" eppelsheimensis (Early Pliocene)
      • "Chenopis" nanus (Pleistocene) – at least 2 taxa, may be living species
    • Extant and recently extinct genera present in the fossil record
      • Somateria (middle Oligocene? – Recent)
      • Bucephala (Middle Miocene – Recent)
      • Clangula (Middle Miocene – Recent)
      • Cygnus (Late Miocene – Recent)
      • Histrionicus (Middle Miocene – Recent) – includes Ocyplonessa
      • Mergus (Middle Miocene – Recent)
      • Anas (Late Miocene – Recent)
      • Anser (Late Miocene – Recent) – includes Heterochen
      • Aythya (Late Miocene – Recent)
      • Branta (Late Miocene – Recent)
      • Oxyura (Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene – Recent)
      • Chendytes (Early Pleistocene – Holocene)
      • Lophodytes (Late Pleistocene – Recent)
      • Neochen (Late Pleistocene – Recent)


The group that includes domestic chickens and their relatives.


Gulls, auks, shorebirds

  • Basal and unresolved taxa
    • Charadriiformes gen. et sp. indet. (Late Cretaceous) – burhinid? basal?
    • "Morsoravis" (Late Paleocene/Early Eocene) – a nomen nudum?
    • Jiliniornis (middle Eocene) – charadriid?
    • Boutersema (Early Oligocene) – glareolid?
    • Turnipax (Early Oligocene) – turnicid?
    • Elorius (Early Miocene)
    • "Larus desnoyersii (Early Miocene of SE France) – larid? stercorarid?
    • "Larus pristinus (John Day Early Miocene of Willow Creek, US) – larid?
    • Charadriiformes gen. et spp. indet. (Early/Middle Miocene) – several species, 1 probably larid
    • Charadriiformes gen. et sp. indet. (Middle Miocene)
    • "Totanus" teruelensis (Late Miocene of Los Mansuetos, Spain) – scolopacid? larid?
    • "Actitis" balcanica (Late Pliocene of Varshets, Bulgaria) – scolopacid? charadriid?
  • Scolopacidae – waders and snipes
    • Paractitis (Early Oligocene)
    • Mirolia (Middle Miocene)
    • Placement unresolved
      • Scolopacidae gen. et sp. indet. (Middle – Late Miocene)
      • Scolopacidae gen. et sp. indet. (Early Pliocene)
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Limosa (Late Eocene? – Recent)
      • Tringa (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene? – Recent) – includes Totanus
      • Gallinago (Late Miocene/Early Pliocene – Recent)
      • Scolopax (Early/Middle Pliocene? – Recent)
      • Phalaropus (Middle Pliocene – Recent)
      • Actitis (Late Pliocene – Recent)
      • Numenius (Late Pleistocene – Recent) – includes Palnumenius
  • Jacanidae – jacanas
  • Laridae – gulls
    • Laridae gen. et sp. indet. (Early Oligocene)
    • Laricola (Late Oligocene/Early Miocene) – larid? Formerly "Larus" elegans and "L." totanoides
    • Gaviota (Middle/Late Miocene)
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Larus (Middle Miocene – Recent)
  • Alcidae – auks
  • Stercorariidae – skuas and jaegers
  • Glareolidae – pratincoles
  • Burhinidae – thick-knees
  • Charadriidae – plovers
    • Limicolavis (John Day Early Miocene of Malheur County, US)
    • Viator (Late Pleistocene of Talara, Peru) – may be synonym of Vanellus (or Belanopteryx if valid)
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Vanellus (Middle/Late Pleistocene – Recent) – includes Belanopteryx
    • Additional prehistoric species of extant genera
  • Recurvirostridae – avocets

Gastornithiformes (extinct)[edit]

The diatrymas, a group of huge flightless Paleogene birds of unclear affinities. Traditionally placed within the Gruiformes, they are usually considered a distinct order nowadays and appear closer to the Anseriformes.

  • Gastornithidae
    • Gastornis (Late Paleocene – middle Eocene) – includes Diatryma
    • Gasthornithidae gen. et sp. indet. (Paleocene) – possibly Gastornis
    • Gasthornithidae gen. et sp. indet. YPM PU 13258 (Early Eocene) – possibly juvenile Gastornis giganteus
    • "Diatryma" cotei (middle-Late Eocene)
    • Zhongyuanus


The group that includes modern rails and cranes. Probably paraphyletic.

  • Placement unresolved
  • Parvigruidae
    • Parvigrus (Early Oligocene of Pichovet, France)
  • Songziidae – possibly a nomen nudum
  • Rallidae – rails
    • Eocrex (Early Eocene)
    • Palaeorallus (Early Eocene)
    • Parvirallus (Early – middle Eocene)
    • Aletornis (middle Eocene) – includes Protogrus
    • Fulicaletornis (middle Eocene)
    • Latipons (middle Eocene)
    • Ibidopsis (Late Eocene)
    • Quercyrallus (Late Eocene –? Late Oligocene)
    • Belgirallus (Early Oligocene)
    • Rallicrex (Middle/Late Oligocene)
    • Palaeoaramides (Late Oligocene/Early Miocene – Late Miocene)
    • Paraortygometra (Late Oligocene/?Early Miocene –? Middle Miocene)
    • Pararallus (Late Oligocene? – Late Miocene) – possibly belongs into Palaeoaramides
    • Miofulica (Middle Miocene)
    • Youngornis (Middle Miocene)
    • Miorallus (Middle – Late Miocene)
    • Creccoides (Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene)
    • Placement unresolved
      • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Oligocene)
      • Rallidae gen. et spp. indet. (Early/Middle Miocene) – several species
      • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. (Middle Miocene)
      • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Miocene)
      • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. UMMP V55013/-14; UMMP V55012/V45750/V45746 (Late Pliocene)
      • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. UMMP V29080 (Late Pliocene)
      • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. (Bermuda, West Atlantic)
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Gallinula (Late Oligocene – Recent)
      • Rallus (Middle Miocene – Recent) – includes Epirallus
      • Porzana (Middle? Miocene – Recent)
      • Fulica (Early Pliocene – Recent)
    • Additional prehistoric species of extant genera
    • Aramus paludigrus (Middle Miocene of La Venta, Colombia) – Aramid
  • Eogruidae
    • Eogrus (Irdin Manha Middle/Late Eocene – Tung Gur Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Mongolia)
    • Sonogrus (Ergilin Dzo Late Eocene/Early Oligocene of Khor Dzan, Mongolia)
  • Ergilornithidae – may belong in Eogruidae
  • Gruidae – cranes
    • Palaeogrus (middle Eocene of Germany and Italy – Middle Miocene of France)
    • Camusia (Late Miocene of Menorca, Mediterranean)
    • Pliogrus (Early Pliocene of Eppelsheim, Germany)
    • Placement unresolved
      • Gruidae gen. et sp. indet. – formerly Grus conferta (Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Contra Costa County, US)
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Balearica (Early Miocene – Recent) – includes Basityto and Grus excelsa/Ornithocnemis excelsus
      • Grus (Middle/Late Miocene – Recent)
  • Messelornithidae – Messel-birds
  • Salmilidae
  • Ameghinornithidae
    • Strigogyps – probably includes Aenigmavis and Ameghinornis
  • Geranoididae
  • Bathornithidae
    • Eutreptornis (Uinta Late Eocene of Ouray Agency, US)
    • Neocathartes (Late Eocene)
    • Palaeogyps (Early Oligocene of WC North America)
    • Bathornithidae gen. nov. (Early – middle Oligocene of C US) – formerly Bathornis celeripes and B. cursor
    • Paracrax (Early/middle Oligocene of Gerry's Ranch, US – Brule Late Oligocene of South Dakota, US) – includes Oligocorax|Oligocorax/Phalacrocorax mediterraneus
    • Bathornis (Early Oligocene – Early Miocene of C US)


  • Placement unresolved
  • Palaelodidae – Swimming-flamingos
  • Phoenicopteridae – flamingos
    • Elornis (Middle? Eocene – Early Oligocene) – includes Actiornis
    • Placement unresolved
      • Phoenicopteridae gen. et sp. indet. (Middle? – Late Miocene)
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record


  • Podicipedidae – grebes
    • Miobaptus (Early Miocene)
    • Thiornis (Late Miocene –? Early Pliocene)
    • Pliolymbus (Late Pliocene – Early? Pleistocene)
    • Placement unresolved
      • Podicipedidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Pliocene) – formerly included in Podiceps parvus
      • Podicipedidae gen. et sp. indet. UMMP 49592, 52261, 51848, 52276, KUVP 4484 (Late Pliocene)
      • Podicipedidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene)
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record


The diverse group that includes storks, herons and New World vultures. Paraphyletic as listed here.

  • Teratornithidae – teratorns
  • Cathartidae – New World vultures
    • Diatropornis (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene –? middle Oligocene)
    • Phasmagyps (Early Oligocene)
    • Brasilogyps (Late Oligocene – Early Miocene)
    • Hadrogyps (Middle Miocene)
    • Pliogyps (Late Miocene – Late Pliocene)
    • Perugyps (Late Miocene/Early Pliocene)
    • Dryornis (Early – Late? Pliocene) – may belong to modern genus Vultur
    • Aizenogyps (Late Pliocene)
    • Breagyps (Late Pleistocene)
    • Geronogyps (Late Pleistocene)
    • Wingegyps (Late Pleistocene)
    • Parasarcoramphus
    • Placement unresolved
      • Cathartidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Oligocene of Mongolia)
      • Cathartidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Lee Creek Mine, US)
      • Cathartidae gen. et sp. indet. (Middle Pliocene of Argentina)
      • Cathartidae gen. et sp. indet. (Cuba)
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Sarcoramphus (Middle Pliocene –? Recent)
      • Gymnogyps (Early Pleistocene – Recent)
      • Vultur (Pliocene – Recent) – distinctiveness disputed
  • Balaenicipitidae – shoebills
    • Goliathia (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene of Egypt)
    • Paludavis (Late Miocene of Tunisia and Pakistan)
  • Ciconiidae – storks
    • Palaeoephippiorhynchus (Early Oligocene)
    • Grallavis (Early Miocene) – may be same as Prociconia
    • Pelargosteon (Early Pleistocene)
    • Prociconia (Late Pleistocene) – may belong to modern genus Jabiru or Ciconia
    • Placement unresolved
      • Ciconiidae gen. et sp. indet. – formerly Aquilavus/Cygnus bilinicus (Early Miocene)
      • Ciconiidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Miocene)
      • cf. Leptoptilos gen. et sp. indet. – formerly L. siwalicensis (Late Miocene? - Late Pliocene)
      • Ciconiidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Pleistocene) – Ciconia or Mycteria?
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Ciconia (Early Miocene? – Recent) – includes Xenorhynchus
      • Mycteria (Middle Miocene – Recent)
      • Ephippiorhynchus (Late Miocene – Recent)
      • Leptoptilos (Late Miocene – Recent) – includes Cryptociconia
      • Jabiru (Early Pliocene – Recent)


The group that includes modern pelicans and cormorants. As presented here paraphyletic; the tropicbird lineage is not part of this group and relationships with Procellariiformes and Sphenisciformes require more research. Also, as the pelicans are at least as close to the Ciconiiformes as to cormorants, the latter group is being recognized as Phalacrocoraciiformes by some recent authors and the core Pelecaniformes are occasionally merged into the Ciconiiformes.

  • Basal and unresolved forms
    • Piscator (Late Eocene of England) – basal phalacrococacoid?
    • "Sula ronzoni (Early Oligocene of Ronzon, France) – formerly Mergus and Prophalacrocorax
    • "Pelecaniformes" gen. et sp. indet. (Jebel Qatrani Early Oligocene of Fayum, Egypt) basal phalacrococacoid (similar to Piscator?)?
    • Borvocarbo (Late Oligocene of C Europe) – phalacrocoracid? basal phalacrococacoid?
  • Prophaethontidae
  • Phaethontidae – tropicbirds
  • Fregatidae – frigatebirds
  • Sulidae – gannets and boobies
    • Masillastega (middle Eocene)
    • Eostega (Middle/Late Eocene)
    • Empheresula (Late Oligocene – Middle Miocene)
    • Microsula (Late Oligocene – Middle Miocene)
    • Sarmatosula (Middle Miocene)
    • Miosula (Late Miocene)
    • Palaeosula (?Early Pliocene)
    • Rhamphastosula (Early Pliocene)
    • Placement unresolved
      • Sulidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Oligocene)
      • Sulidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Pliocene)
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Morus (Early Miocene – Recent)
      • Sula (Middle Pliocene – Recent)


The group that includes modern albatrosses, petrels and storm-petrels.


  • Neogaeornis (Late Cretaceous)
  • Polarornis (Late Cretaceous)
  • Gaviidae – loons
    • Colymboides (Late Eocene – Early Miocene) – includes Dyspetornis and Hydrornis; paraphyletic?
    • Placement unresolved
      • "Gavia" portisi (Late Pliocene of Orciano Pisano, Italy) – rentatively placed here. A nomen dubium?
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Gavia (Early Miocene – Recent)




  • Columbidae – doves and pigeons
    • Arenicolumba (Early Miocene) – doubtfully distinct from Patagioenas
    • Rupephaps (Early Miocene)
    • Placement unresolved
      • Columbidae gen. et sp. indet. (Early/Middle Miocene)
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record


Unresolved and basal fossil parrots:




Cuckoos, turacos and allies.

  • Placement unresolved
    • Cuculiformes gen. et sp. indet. (Early Eocene)
  • Musophagidae – turacos
    • Veflintornis (Middle Miocene) – formerly Apopempsis
    • Placement unresolved
      • Musophagidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Oligocene – Middle Miocene of WC Europe)
      • "Apopempsis africanus (Early Miocene) – formerly Musophaga, might belong in Veflintornis
      • Musophagidae gen. et sp. indet. (Egypt)
  • Cuculidae – cuckoos


Birds of prey. Possibly polyphyletic or paraphyletic.

  • Unresolved and basal forms
  • Horusornithidae
  • Pandionidae – ospreys
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Pandion (Early Oligocene – Recent)
  • Sagittariidae – secretarybirds
    • Pelargopappus (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene – Late Oligocene/Early Miocene of France) – formerly Amphiserpentarius/Amynoptilon/Pelargopsis
  • Accipitridae – hawks, eagles and Old World vultures
    • Milvoides (Late Eocene)
    • Aquilavus (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene – Early Miocene)
    • Palaeocircus (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene)
    • Palaeastur (Early Miocene)
    • Pengana (Early Miocene)
    • Promilio (Early Miocene)
    • Proictinia (Early – Late Miocene/Early Pliocene)
    • Neophrontops (Early/middle Miocene – Late Pleistocene) – formerly in Neophron
    • Mioaegypius (middle Miocene)
    • Apatosagittarius (Late Miocene)
    • Gansugyps (Late Miocene)
    • Palaeoborus (Miocene)
    • Qiluornis (Miocene)
    • Thegornis (Miocene)
    • Garganoaetus (Early Pliocene)
    • Amplibuteo (Late Pliocene of Peru – Late Pleistocene) – may belong to extant genus Harpyhaliaetus (or Buteogallus)
    • Neogyps
    • Palaeohierax – includes "Aquila" gervaisii
    • Placement unresolved
      • Accipitridae gen. et sp. indet. AMNH FR 7434 (Early Eocene)
      • Accipitridae gen. et sp. indet. (Early Oligocene)
      • Accipitridae gen. et sp. indet. (Early/Middle Miocene)
      • Accipitridae gen. et sp. indet. MPEF-PV-2523 (Late Miocene)
      • Accipitridae gen. et sp. indet. (Early/Middle Pliocene) – Parabuteo?
      • Accipitridae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene) – Buteo?
      • Accipitridae gen. et sp. indet. (Egypt)
      • "Aquila" danana (Late Miocene/Early Pliocene) – formerly also Geranoaetus or Buteo
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Haliaeetus (Early Oligocene – Recent)
      • Buteo (middle Oligocene – Recent)
      • Aquila (Middle Miocene – Recent)
      • Buteogallus (Middle Miocene – Recent) – might include Harpyhaliaetus
      • "Hieraaetus" (Middle Miocene – Recent) – doubtfully distinct from Aquila
      • Milvus (Early Pleistocene – Recent)
      • Gyps (Middle Pleistocene – Recent)
      • Aegypius (Middle Pleistocene – Recent)
    • Additional prehistoric species of extant genera
  • Falconidae – falcons
    • Parvulivenator (Early Eocene)
    • Stintonornis (Early Eocene)
    • Badiostes (Early Miocene)
    • Pediohierax (Middle Miocene) – formerly Falco ramenta
    • Placement unresolved
      • Falconidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Miocene)
      • "Sushkinia" pliocaena (Early Pliocene) – belongs into Falco?
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Falco (Late Miocene? – Recent)
      • Milvago (Late Pleistocene -–Recent)
      • Caracara (Late Pleistocene – Recent) – formerly Polyborus


Nightjars, potoos and allies. Apparently paraphyletic.




Swifts and hummingbirds.


Mousebirds and relatives


Owls and barn owls

  • Unresolved and basal forms
    • Berruornis (Late Paleocene) – basal? Sophornithidae?
    • Strigiformes gen. et sp. indet. (Late Paleocene)
    • Palaeoglaux (middle – Late Eocene) – own family Palaeoglaucidae or Strigidae?
    • Palaeobyas (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene) – Tytonidae? Sophiornithidae?
    • Palaeotyto (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene) – Tytonidae?
    • Strigiformes gen. et spp. indet. (Early Oligocene)
  • Ogygoptyngidae
  • Protostrigidae
    • Eostrix (Early – middle Eocene)
    • Minerva (middle – Late Eocene) – formerly Protostrix, includes "Aquila" ferox, "Aquila" lydekkeri, and "Bubo" leptosteus
    • Oligostrix (middle Oligocene)
  • Sophiornithidae
  • Strigidae – typical owls
    • Mioglaux (Late Oligocene? – Early Miocene) – includes "Bubo" poirreiri
    • Intulula (Early/Middle –? Late Miocene) – includes "Strix/Ninox" brevis
    • Alasio (Middle Miocene) – includes "Strix" collongensis
    • Oraristrix (Late Pleistocene)
    • Placement unresolved
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Strix (Early Miocene – Recent)
      • Bubo (Late Miocene? – Recent)
      • Asio (Late Pliocene – Recent)
      • Athene (Late Pliocene – Recent)
      • Glaucidium (Late Pliocene – Recent)
      • Surnia (Late Pliocene – Recent)
      • Pulsatrix (Late Pleistocene – Recent)
  • Tytonidae – barn owls
    • Nocturnavis (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene)
    • Selenornis (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene)
    • Necrobyas (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene – Early Miocene)
    • Prosybris (Early Oligocene? – Early Miocene)
    • Placement unresolved
      • Tytonidae gen. et sp. indet. TMT 164 (Middle Miocene)
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Tyto (Late Miocene – Recent)


Rollers and allies. Probably paraphyletic.


  • Trogonidae – trogons
    • Septentrogon (Fur Late Paleocene/Early Eocene of Ejerslev, Denmark)
    • Primotrogon (middle Eocene of Messel, Germany? - Early Oligocene of France)
    • Paratrogon (Early Miocene of France)
    • Placement unresolved
      • Trogonidae gen. et sp. indet. 1 (NW Europe)
      • Trogonidae gen. et sp. indet. 2 (NW Europe)


  • Placement unresolved
    • Piciformes gen. et sp. indet. IRScNB Av 65 (Early Oligocene)
    • Rupelramphastoides (Early Oligocene) – ramphastid?
    • Piciformes gen. et sp. indet. SMF Av 429 (Late Oligocene)
    • Capitonides (Early – Middle Miocene) – ramphastid? "capitonid" (Lybiidae, Megalaimidae)? own family Capitonididae?
    • Pici gen. et sp. indet. (Middle Miocene) – "capitonid" (Lybiidae, Megalaimidae?)
  • Miopiconidae
    • Miopico
  • Lybiidae – African barbets
    • Lybiidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Miocene) – extant genus Pogoniulus?
  • Galbulidae
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
  • Picavidae
  • Picidae – woodpeckers


  • Placement unresolved
    • Passeriformes gen. et spp. indet. (Early Eocene) – several species, oscine?
    • Resoviaornis (Early Oligocene)
    • Wieslochia (Early Oligocene)
    • Passeriformes gen. et spp. indet. (Late Oligocene) – several suboscine and oscine species
    • Certhiops (Early Miocene of Germany) – basal Certhioidea
    • Passeriformes gen. et sp. indet. (Early/Middle Miocene) – suboscine?
    • Passeriformes gen. et spp. indet. (Early/Middle Miocene) – several species, oscine?
    • Passeriformes gen. et spp. indet. (Middle Miocene) – several species, basal?
    • Passeriformes gen. et spp. indet. (Middle Miocene) – several species, oscine?
    • Passeriformes gen. et spp. indet. (Late Miocene) – Sylvioidea
    • "Palaeostruthus" eurius (Pliocene)
  • Eurylaimidae – broadbills
    • Placement unresolved
      • Eurylaimidae gen. et sp. indet. (Early Miocene)
  • Palaeoscinidae
  • Furnariidae – ovenbirds
  • Menuridae – lyretails
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Menura (Early Miocene – Recent)
  • Meliphagidae – honeyeaters
    • Placement unresolved
      • Meliphagidae gen. et spp. indet. (Middle/Late Miocene – Pliocene of Riversleigh, Australia) – at least 7 spp., some may be from extant genera
  • Orthonychidae – logrunners
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Orthonyx (Middle/Late Miocene – Recent)
  • Oriolidae – Old World orioles
    • Longimornis (Early Miocene of Riversleigh, Australia)
  • Artamidae – woodswallows, butcherbirds, currawongs and Australian magpie
    • Placement unresolved
      • Artamidae gen. et sp. indet. (Early/Middle Miocene) – cracticine
  • Corvidae – crows, ravens, jays and magpies
    • Miocorvus (Middle Miocene)
    • Miopica (Middle Miocene)
    • Miocitta (Late Miocene)
    • Protocitta (Early Pleistocene)
    • Henocitta (Middle Pleistocene)
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
    • Placement unresolved
      • Corvidae gen. et sp. indet. (Early Pliocene)
      • Corvidae gen. et sp. indet. (Early/Middle Pleistocene) – probably belongs in extant genus
  • Laniidae – shrikes
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Lanius (Early Miocene – Recent)
  • Regulidae – kinglets
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Regulus (Late Pliocene – Recent)
  • Hirundinidae – swallows and martins
    • Placement unresolved
      • Hirundinidae gen. et spp. indet. (Early Pliocene of Langebaanweg, South Africa) – 2 species
  • Megaluridae – grass-warblers and allies
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
  • Acrocephalidae – marsh- and tree-warblers
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
  • Muscicapidae – Old World flycatchers and chats
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
  • Turdidae – thrushes
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • ?Turdus (Middle? Miocene – Recent)
  • Alaudidae – larks
    • Eremarida (Late Miocene of Hrabarsko, Bulgaria)
  • Motacillidae – wagtails
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
  • Fringillidae – finches
  • Icteridae – grackles and New World orioles
  • Cardinalidae – cardinals
    • Placement unresolved
      • Passerina sp. (Early Pliocene of Yepómera, Mexico)
  • Emberizidae – buntings and New World sparrows
    • Pampaemberiza (Middle Pleistocene of Necochea, Argentina)
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Ammodramus (Late Miocene – Recent) – including Palaeostruthus
    • Additional prehistoric species of extant genera

Avialans incertae sedis[edit]

These fossil taxa cannot be assigned to any major group with reasonable certainty. The "proto-birds" above are of some indeterminate basal position in the entire avialan (and paravian) radiation, but known from such diagnostic material that their relationships at the family level are known. In contrast, the taxa here have a hypodigm that is usually just sufficient for giving them a valid scientific name, but not for phylogenetic purposes beyond classing them as pygostylians or more modern birds. Some, however, are known from such fragmentary remains that the possibility that they are non-avian "reptiles" such as dinosaurs cannot be ruled out at present.

  • Apatornis (Late Cretaceous) – neornithine (anseriform)?
  • "Ichthyornis" minusculus Nesov 1990 (Bissekty Late Cretaceous of Kyzyl Kum, Uzbekistan) – enantiornithine?
  • Potamornis skutchi Elzanowski, Paul & Stidham 2000 (Late Cretaceous) – hesperornithid? baptornithid? enaliornithid?
  • Guildavis (Cretaceous of Wallace County, US) – neornithine or basal ornithurine
  • Qinornis paleocenica Xue 1995 (Early/Middle Paleocene) – enantiornithine? neornithine?
  • "Cathayornis" aberransis
  • "Cathayornis" caudatus
  • "Ichthyornis" maltshevskyi?

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sereno (2005)
  2. ^ Chiappe (2001, 2002)
  3. ^ See e.g. Mortimer (2004), Sereno (2005)
  4. ^ Clarke et al. (2006)
  5. ^ a b Holtz, T.R. (2012) Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Holtz2008" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  6. ^ Gareth J. Dyke, Attila Ősi (2010). "A review of Late Cretaceous fossil birds from Hungary". Geological Journal 45 (4): 434–444. doi:10.1002/gj.1209. 
  7. ^ Fernando Emilio Novas, Federico Lisandro Agnolín and Carlos Agustín Scanferla (2010). "New enantiornithine bird (Aves, Ornithothoraces) from the Late Cretaceous of NW Argentina". Comptes Rendus Palevol 9 (8): 499–503. doi:10.1016/j.crpv.2010.09.005. 
  8. ^ Li Li, En-pu Gong, Li-dong Zhang, Ya-jun Yang and Lian-hai Hou (2010). "A new enantiornithine bird (aves) from the Early Cretaceous of Liaoning, China". Acta Palaeontologica Sinica 49 (4): 524–531. 
  9. ^ O’Connor, J. K.; Zhang, Y.; Chiappe, L. M.; Meng, Q.; Quanguo, L.; Di, L. (2013). "A new enantiornithine from the Yixian Formation with the first recognized avian enamel specialization". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 33: 1. doi:10.1080/02724634.2012.719176. 
  10. ^ Kurochkin, E.N. et al. (2006)
  11. ^ Kurochkin (2006)
  12. ^ O’Connor, J.K. (2012)
  13. ^ Fide Chiappe (2002)
  14. ^ Federico L. Agnolin and David Varricchio (2012). "Systematic reinterpretation of Piksi barbarulna Varricchio, 2002 from the Two Medicine Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Western USA (Montana) as a pterosaur rather than a bird". Geodiversitas 34 (4): 883–894. doi:10.5252/g2012n4a10. 


  • Chiappe, Luis M. (2001): The rise of birds. In: Briggs, Derek E.G. & Crowther, P.R. (eds.): Palaeobiology II: A Synthesis: 102-106. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
  • Chiappe, Luis M. (2002): Basal bird phylogeny: problems and solutions. In: Chiappe, L.M. and Witmer, L.M. (eds.): Mesozoic Birds: Above the Heads of Dinosaurs: 448-472. University of California Press, Berkeley, US.
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