List of fossil bird genera

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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 evolved from certain feathered theropod dinosaurs, and there is no real dividing line between birds and non-avian dinosaurs except 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 in the broadest sense.[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 changes 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.[4][5]

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.[6]

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.[7]


Note that Holtz (2011) also included Zhyraornis in his classification of euenantiornithines, though this genus is more often classified as an ornithuran.[13] Holtz also placed Liaoningornis as an ornithuromorph, though more recent studies have placed it as a close relative of Eoalulavis.[14]

Basal Euornithes (extinct)[edit]

Also called "basal Ornithuromorpha".[15] 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).[7]

Note that Holtz also included the genera Eurolimnornis, Holbotia, Palaeocursornis and Piksi as euornitheans, though they have since been re-identified as pterosaurs.[16]

Basal Ornithurae (extinct)[edit]


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)?
  • 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?
  • 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 Mourer-Chauviré 1995 sensu Mayr 2007 (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?
  • Fluviatilavis 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)?
  • 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?)?
  • Eociconia sangequanensis Hou 1989 (middle Eocene of China)– ciconiiform (ciconiid)?
  • Protocypselomorphus manfredkelleri Mayr 2005 (middle Eocene of Messel, Germany)– caprimulgiform, apodiform or ancestral to both
  • Pumiliornis tessellatus Mayr 1999 (middle Eocene of Messel, Germany)
  • Ludiortyx hoffmanni (Gervais 1852) Brunet 1970 (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 simplex Harrison & Walker 1976 (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?
  • 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)?
  • 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
  • Dolichopterus viator Milne-Edwards 1867 [Dolicopterus Aymard 1856 nomen nudum; Camaskelus Aymard 1856 nomen nudum; Camaskelus Milne-Edwards 1867; Dolicopterus viator Aymard 1856 nomen nudum; Camaskelus palustris Aymard 1856 nomen nudum; Camaskelus palustris Milne-Edwards 1867] (Early Oligocene of Ronzon, France) – charadriiform (charadriid)? Not Dolicopterus 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 eous >(Harrison & Walker 1976) Harrison & Walker 1979 [Howardia Harrison & Walker 1976 non Berlese & Leonardi 1896; Howardia eous Harrison & Walker 1976] (Hampstead Early Oligocene of Isle of Wight, England) – anseriform?
  • Paracygnopterus scotti Harrison & Walker 1979 (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 littoralis Milne-Edwards 1871 [leracus Aymard 1856 nomen nudum; leracus littoralis Aymard 1856 nomen nudum] (Early Oligocene of France)
  • Teleornis impressus 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 Cope 1881 (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 senex Ameghino 1899 (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", Czech Republic) - 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 australis Ameghino 1895 nomen dubium (Miocene of Argentina) – anatid? A nomen dubium
  • Eutelornis patagonica Ameghino 1895 (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 Giebel 1860 (Late Pliocene of Germany) – ardeid? strigid (genus Bubo)?
  • Bathoceleus hyphalus Brodkorb 1959 (Pliocene of New Providence, Bahamas) – picid?
  • "Homalopus" Milne-Edwards 1870 non Chevrolat 1837– 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?
  • Eurofluvioviridavis robustipes Mayr 2005a (middle Eocene of Messel, Germany)
  • Archaeotrogonidae Wetmore 1926basal Cypselomorphae?
  • Cimolopterygidae Brodkorb 1963 – charadriiform?
  • Cladornithidae Wetmore 1930 [Cladornithes Wetmore 1960; Cladornidae Ameghino 1895] (pelecaniform?
  • Eremopezidae Rothschild 1911 – pelecaniform? ratite?
  • 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?
  • 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 [Primoscenidae Harrison 1977]– near passerine
  • "Graculavidae" Fürbringer 1888 [Dakotornithidae Erickson 1975; Scaniornithidae; Telmatornithidae Cracraft 1972] – a paraphyletic form taxon, the "transitional shorebirds"


Ostrich and related ratites.


Cassowaries, emus and related ratites.

  • Casuariidae Kaup 1847 [Dromaiidae Huxley 1868; Dramaiinae Gray 1870; Dramiceiidae Richmond 1908; Dramaeidae Newton 1896] (emus and cassowaries)
    • Diogenornis fragilis Alvarenga 1983 (Early Eocene) – possible casuariiform
    • Emuarius Boles 1992 (emuwaries) (Late Oligocene – Late Miocene)
    • Prehistoric species of extant genera


Rheas and related ratites.



Two unnamed Saint Bathans Fauna species.[17]


Lithornithiformes Houde 1988[edit]





The group that includes modern ducks and geese.


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 Miller & Sibley 1941 non Fischer 1983 (Middle/Late Miocene)
    • Extant genera present in the fossil record
      • Larus (Middle Miocene – Recent)
  • Alcidae – auks
  • Stercorariidae – skuas and jaegers
  • Glareolidae – pratincoles
    • Paractiornis (Agate Fossil Beds Early Miocene of Sioux County, US)
    • Mioglareola (Early Miocene of Czech Republic) - formerly "Larus" dolnicensis
    • Prehistoric species of extant genera
  • 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.


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









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


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.



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






  • 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)
  • Cuculidae – cuckoos










Swifts and hummingbirds.


Mousebirds and relatives

  • Unresolved and basal forms
    • Botauroides parvus Shufeldt 1915 (Eocene of Wyoming, US)
    • Eobucco brodkorbi Feduccia & Martin 1976 - sandcoleid?
    • Eocolius walkeri Dyke & Waterhouse 2001 (London Clay Early Eocene of Walton-on-the-Naze, England) - sandcoleid or coliid
    • Limnatornis Milne-Edwards 1871 (Early Miocene of Saint-Gérand-le-Puy, France) - coliid? (Urocolius?)
    • †Coliiformes gen. et sp. indet. (Late Miocene of Kohfidisch, Austria)[20]
    • Uintornis Marsh 1872 - sandcoleid?
  • Family †Chascacocoliidae Zelenkov & Dyke 2008
    • Genus †Chascacocolius Houde & Olson 1992 (Late Paleocene ?- Early Eocene) - basal? sandcoleid?
  • Family †Selmeidae Zelenkov & Dyke 2008
    • Selmes absurdipes Peters 1999 (Middle Eocene ?-Late Oligocene of C Europe) - coliid? (synonym of Primocolius?)
  • Family †Sandcoleidae Houde & Olson 1992 sensu Mayr & Mourer-Chauviré 2004
  • Family Coliidae Swainson 1837 sensu Mayr & Mourer-Chauviré 2004



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)
    • Miosurnia (Late Miocene)
    • 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.




  • 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
  • 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
    • Longmornis (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.

  • "Ichthyornis" minusculus Nesov 1990 (Bissekty Late Cretaceous of Kyzyl Kum, Uzbekistan) – enantiornithine?
  • Qinornis paleocenica Xue 1995 (Early/Middle Paleocene) – enantiornithine? neornithine?

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sereno (2005)
  2. ^ Chiappe (2001, 2002)
  3. ^ See e.g. Mortimer (2004), Sereno (2005)
  4. ^ "Taxonomic lists- Aves". (net, info). Archived from the original on 11 January 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  5. ^ Brodkob, Pierce (1963). "Catalogue of fossil birds 1- Archaeopterygiformes through Ardeiformes". Biological Sciences, Bulletin of the Florida State Museum. 7 (4): 180–293.
  6. ^ Clarke et al. (2006)
  7. ^ a b Holtz, Thomas R. Jr. (2007). Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages. New York NY, US: Random House. ISBN 978-0-375-82419-7. Winter 2011 Appendix.
  8. ^ Kurochkin, E.N. et al. (2006)
  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): 1–12. Bibcode:2013JVPal..33....1O. doi:10.1080/02724634.2012.719176. S2CID 85261944.
  10. ^ Li Li; En-pu Gong; Li-dong Zhang; Ya-jun Yang; Lian-hai Hou (2010). "A new enantiornithine bird (aves) from the Early Cretaceous of Liaoning, China". Acta Palaeontologica Sinica. 49 (4): 524–531.
  11. ^ 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. S2CID 128580503.
  12. ^ 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. Bibcode:2010CRPal...9..499N. doi:10.1016/j.crpv.2010.09.005. hdl:11336/60953.
  13. ^ Kurochkin (2006)
  14. ^ O'Connor, J.K. (2012)
  15. ^ Fide Chiappe (2002)
  16. ^ 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. S2CID 56002643. Archived from the original on 2013-01-07.
  17. ^ Tennyson, A.J.D.; Worthy, T.H.; Jones, C.M.; Scofield, R.P.; Hand, S.J. (2010). "Moa's Ark: Miocene fossils reveal the great antiquity of moa (Aves: Dinornithiformes) in Zealandia". Records of the Australian Museum. 62: 105–114. doi:10.3853/j.0067-1975.62.2010.1546.
  18. ^ a b Nikita V. Zelenkov; Thomas A. Stidham; Nicolay V. Martynovich; Natalia V. Volkova; Qiang Li; Zhuding Qiu (2018). "The middle Miocene duck Chenoanas (Aves, Anatidae): new species, phylogeny and geographical range". Papers in Palaeontology. 4 (3): 309–326. doi:10.1002/spp2.1107. S2CID 134072594.
  19. ^ Suárez, William; Olson, Storrs L. (2021). "A new fossil raptor (Accipitridae: Buteogallus) from Quaternary cave deposits in Cuba and Hispaniola, West Indies". Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 141 (3). doi:10.25226/bboc.v141i3.2021.a3. S2CID 237456822.
  20. ^ Similar to Urocolius and Limnatornis (if distinct): Mlíkovský (2002)


External links[edit]