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List of birds

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This article lists living orders and families of birds. The links below should then lead to family accounts and hence to individual species.

The passerines (perching birds) alone account for well over 5,000 species. In total there are about 10,000 species of birds described worldwide, though one estimate of the real number places it at almost twice that.[1]

Taxonomy is very fluid in the age of DNA analysis, so comments are made where appropriate, and all numbers are approximate. In particular see Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy for a very different classification.


Cladogram of modern bird relationships based on Jarvis, E.D. et al. (2014)[2] with some clade names after Yuri, T. et al. (2013).[3]


Opisthocomiformes (hoatzin)


Gruiformes (rails and cranes)

Charadriiformes (shorebirds)


Cathartiformes (condors and New World vultures)

Accipitriformes (hawks, eagles, vultures, etc.)

Strigiformes (owls)


Coliiformes (mousebirds)

Leptosomiformes (cuckoo roller)

Trogoniformes (trogons)

Bucerotiformes (hornbills, hoopoe and wood hoopoes)

Coraciiformes (kingfishers etc.)

Piciformes (woodpeckers etc.)


Cariamiformes (seriemas)


Falconiformes (falcons)


Psittaciformes (parrots)

Passeriformes (songbirds and kin)

Subclass Palaeognathae[edit]

The Palaeognathae or "old jaws" is one of the two superorders recognized within the taxonomic class Aves and consist of the ratites and tinamous. The ratites are mostly large and long-legged, flightless birds, lacking a keeled sternum. Traditionally, all the ratites were place in the order Struthioniformes. However, recent genetic analysis has found that the group is not monophyletic, as it is paraphyletic with respect to the tinamous, so the ostriches are classified as the only members of the order Struthioniformes and other ratites placed in other orders.[6][7]

Order Struthioniformes[edit]

Greater rhea pair
Eudromia elegans
Casuarius casuarius

Africa; 2 species

Infraclass Notopalaeognathae[edit]

Order Rheiformes[edit]

South America; 2 species

  • Family †Opisthodactylidae
  • Family Rheidae: rheas

Order Casuariiformes[edit]

Australasia; 4 species

Order Apterygiformes[edit]

Australasia; 5 species

Order †Aepyornithiformes[edit]


Order †Dinornithiformes[edit]

New Zealand

Order Tinamiformes[edit]

South America; 45 species

Subclass Neognathae[edit]

Nearly all living birds belong to the subclass Neognathae or "new jaws". With their keeled sternum (breastbone), unlike the ratites, they are known as carinatae.

Infraclass Galloanserae[edit]

Order Galliformes[edit]

Australian brush turkey

Worldwide; 250 species

Order †Gastornithiformes[edit]

Order Anseriformes[edit]

Worldwide; 150 species

Superorder Mirandornithes[edit]

Order Podicipediformes[edit]

Worldwide; 19 species

Order Phoenicopteriformes[edit]

Worldwide; 6 species

Superorder Columbimorphae[edit]

Order Columbiformes[edit]

Worldwide; 300 species

Order Pterocliformes[edit]

Africa, Europe, Asia; 16 species

Order Mesitornithiformes[edit]

Madagascar; 3 species

Grandorder Cypselomorphae[edit]

Order Caprimulgiformes[edit]

Worldwide; 97 species

Order Steatornithiformes[edit]

South America; 1 species

Order Nyctibiiformes[edit]

Americas; 7 species

Order Podargiformes[edit]

Tawny frogmouth

Asia and Australasia; 14 species

Order Aegotheliformes[edit]

Australasia; 10 species

Order Apodiformes[edit]

Worldwide; 478 species

Grandorder Otidimorphae[edit]

Order Cuculiformes[edit]

Worldwide; 150 species

Order Musophagiformes[edit]

Africa; 23 species

Order Otidiformes[edit]

Africa and Eurasia; 27 species

Superorder Gruae[edit]

Order Opisthocomiformes[edit]

South America; 1 species

Order Gruiformes[edit]

Worldwide; 164 species

Order Charadriiformes[edit]

Worldwide; 350 species

Grandorder Phaethontimorphae[edit]

Order Eurypygiformes[edit]

Neotropics and New Caledonia; 2 species

Order Phaethontiformes[edit]

Oceanic; 3 species

Grandorder Aequornithes[edit]

Order Gaviiformes[edit]

North America, Eurasia; 5 species

Order Sphenisciformes[edit]

Antarctic and southern waters; 17 species

Order Procellariiformes[edit]

Pan-oceanic; 120 species

Order Ciconiiformes[edit]

Worldwide; 19 species

White stork

Order Suliformes[edit]

Worldwide; 59 species

Order Pelecaniformes[edit]


Worldwide; 108 species

Grandorder Afroaves[edit]

Order Accipitriformes[edit]


Worldwide; 260 species

Order Strigiformes[edit]

Worldwide; 250 species

Order Coliiformes[edit]

Blue-naped mousebird

Sub-Saharan Africa; 6 species

Order Leptosomiformes[edit]

Madagascar; 1 species

Order Trogoniformes[edit]

Sub-Saharan Africa, Americas, Asia; 35 species

Order Bucerotiformes[edit]

Old World, New Guinea; 64 species

Order Coraciiformes[edit]

Worldwide; 144 species


Order Piciformes[edit]

Worldwide except Australasia; 400 species

Grandorder Australaves[edit]

Order Cariamiformes[edit]

South America; 2 species

Order Falconiformes[edit]

Worldwide; 60 species

Order Psittaciformes[edit]

Pan-tropical, southern temperate zones; 330 species

Order Passeriformes[edit]

Rock wren
Eurylaimus javanicus
Pitta cyanea
Pachyramphus castaneus

Worldwide; 6,500 species

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barrowclough, GF; Cracraft, J; Klicka, J; Zink, RM (2016). "How Many Kinds of Birds Are There and Why Does It Matter?". PLOS ONE. 11 (11): e0166307. Bibcode:2016PLoSO..1166307B. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0166307. PMC 5120813. PMID 27880775.
  2. ^ Jarvis, E.D.; et al. (2014). "Whole-genome analyses resolve early branches in the tree of life of modern birds". Science. 346 (6215): 1320–1331. Bibcode:2014Sci...346.1320J. doi:10.1126/science.1253451. PMC 4405904. PMID 25504713.
  3. ^ Yuri, T.; et al. (2013). "Parsimony and Model-Based Analyses of Indels in Avian Nuclear Genes Reveal Congruent and Incongruent Phylogenetic Signals". Biology. 2 (1): 419–444. doi:10.3390/biology2010419. PMC 4009869. PMID 24832669.
  4. ^ Boyd, John (2007). "NEORNITHES: 46 Orders" (PDF). John Boyd's website. Retrieved 30 December 2017.[unreliable source?]
  5. ^ Worthy, T.H.; Degrange, F.J.; Handley, W.D.; Lee, M.S.Y. (2017). "The evolution of giant flightless birds and novel phylogenetic relationships for extinct fowl (Aves, Galloanseres)". Royal Society Open Science. 11 (10): 170975. Bibcode:2017RSOS....470975W. doi:10.1098/rsos.170975. PMC 5666277. PMID 29134094.
  6. ^ Hackett, S.J.; et al. (2008). "A Phylogenomic Study of Birds Reveals Their Evolutionary History". Science. 320 (5884): 1763–1768. Bibcode:2008Sci...320.1763H. doi:10.1126/science.1157704. PMID 18583609. S2CID 6472805.
  7. ^ Yuri, T (2013). "Parsimony and model-based analyses of indels in avian nuclear genes reveal congruent and incongruent phylogenetic signals". Biology. 2 (1): 419–44. doi:10.3390/biology2010419. PMC 4009869. PMID 24832669.