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Temporal range: Eocene–recent
File:Accipitrimorphae diversity.png
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Superorder: Neoaves
Clade: Inopinaves
Clade: Telluraves
Clade: Afroaves
Superorder: Accipitrimorphae
Vieillot, 1816
Orders and Families

Accipitrimorphae is a group of birds that includes the Cathartiformes: New World vultures and Accipitriformes: Secretarybird, Osprey and the hawk family, Accipitridae. Together with Falconiformes and Strigiformes, they are called birds of prey or raptors.


Accipitrimorphae is derived from the genus Accipiter. From Latin accipiter, accipitris hawk < accipere to grasp (the original meaning was “to understand” rather than “to seize”) (cf. Med. L. accipiter Sparrowhawk; ancipiter Goshawk).[1]


Accipitrimorphae is a member of the bird clades called Telluraves and Afroaves. They are closely related to owls (Strigiformes), mousebirds (Coliiformes), the Cuckoo Roller (Leptosomiformes),[2] trogons (Trogoniformes), Bucerotiformes, Coraciiformes[3] and Piciformes.[4] They are sister to Australaves, which contains the falcons, seriemas, parrots[5] and passerines.[6]

Members of Accipitrimorphae were once a part of Falconiformes (Sibley and Ahlquist, 1991).[7]


The New World vultures were once part of the storks (Sibley and Ahlquist, 1990?[verification needed][8]), while Sibley and Monroe placed them as a subfamily of Ciconiidae, as a part of the "expanded Ciconiiformes".[9]

This was shown to be untrue, and more recent research (e.g., Hackett et al., 2008[10]; Han et al., 2011[11]; McCormack et al., 2013[12]; Yuri et al., 2013[13]) puts the New World vultures close to the Accipitriformes.[14]


The Secretarybird is occasionally included in Accipitridae (EDGE).[15]

Pycraft (1902)[16] and Mayr and Amadon (1951)[17] considered it to be closer to the Gruiformes than the Falconiformes.[18]


The Osprey is sometimes included in Accipitridae (Pinto, 1938[19]; Stresemann and Amadon, 1979[20]; Sibley and Monroe, 1990[9]; Dickinson et al., 2003[21]; AOU, 1998[22]; Simpson and Day, 1999 and 2010[23][24]; Brazil, 2009[25], Garrigues and Dean, 2007[26]), but some authorities place it in its own family, Pandionidae (American Ornithologists’ Union, 1983[27]; del Hoyo et al. 1994[28], Ferguson-Lees and Christie, 2001[29], J.V. Remsen and South American Classification Committee[30]; Chesser, et. al, 2010[31]; Peterson, 1961 [1941][32]; Hackett et al. 2008[10]; Pratt and Beehler, 2014[33]).


All members of Accipitrimorphae have strong bills and sharp talons.


Behaviour and diet


  1. ^ Jobling, J. (2015). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.), eds. "Accipiter". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. Retrieved 4-28-15.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ Boyd, John (March 12, 2015). "Afroaves" (v. 3.01a ed.). Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  3. ^ Boyd, John (February 22, 2015). "Afroaves" (v. 3.00 ed.). Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  4. ^ Boyd, John (April 17, 2015). "Afroaves" (v. 3.01a ed.). Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  5. ^ Boyd, John (March 21, 2015). "Australaves" (v. 3.01 ed.). Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  6. ^ Boyd, John (February 26, 2015). "Passeriformes" (v. 3.00 ed.). Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  7. ^ Sibley, Charles G., and Jon E. Ahlquist (1991) Phylogeny and Classification of Birds: A Study in Molecular Evolution. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-04085-7
  8. ^ Sibley, C.G., and J.E. Ahlquist (1990), “Phylogeny and Classification of Birds”, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.
  9. ^ a b Sibley, Charles G. and Burt L. Monroe (1990) Distribution and Taxonomy of the Birds of the World. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-04969-2
  10. ^ a b Hackett, S.J., R.T. Kimball, S. Reddy, R.C.K. Bowie, E.L. Braun, M.J. Braun, J.L. Chojnowski, W.A. Cox, K-L. Han, J. Harshman, C.J. Huddleston, B.D. Marks, K.J. Miglia, W.S. Moore, F.H. Sheldon, D.W. Steadman, C.C. Witt, and T. Yuri (2008), A phylogenetic study of birds reveals their evolutionary history, Science 320, 1763-1767.
  11. ^ Kin-Lan Han, Edward L. Braun, Rebecca T. Kimball, Sushma Reddy, Rauri C. K. Bowie, Michael J. Braun, Jena L. Chojnowski, Shannon J. Hackett, John Harshman, Christopher J. Huddleston, Ben D. Marks, Kathleen J. Miglia, William S. Moore, Frederick H. Sheldon, David W. Steadman, Christopher C. Witt, and Tamaki Yuri (2011), Are Transposable Element Insertions Homoplasy Free?: An Examination Using the Avian Tree of LifeSyst Biol 2011 60: 375-386.
  12. ^ McCormack, J.E., M.G. Harvey, B.C. Faircloth, N.G. Crawford, T.C. Glenn, and R.T. Brumfield (2013), A phylogeny of birds based on over 1,500 loci collected by target enrichment and high-throughput sequencing, PLoS ONE 8, e54848.
  13. ^ Yuri, T., R.T. Kimball, J.Harshman, R.C.K. Bowie, M.J. Braun, J.L. Chojnowski, K.-L. Han, S.J. Hackett, C.J. Huddleston, W.S. Moore, S. Reddy, F.H. Sheldon, D.W. Steadman, C.C. Witt, and E.L. Braun (2013), Parsimony and Model-Based Analyses of Indels in Avian Nuclear Genes Reveal Congruent and Incongruent Phylogenetic Signals, Biology 2, 419-444.
  14. ^ John H. Boyd III (January 26, 2012). "ACCIPITRIMORPHAE: Cathartiformes, Accipitriformes". TiF Checklist. Retrieved 2-12-2021.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  15. ^ Harrison, Michelle (2014). "Secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius)". EDGE of Existence programme. Zoological Society of London. Retrieved 2014-12-26.  External link in |work= (help)
  16. ^ Pycraft, W. P., F.Z.S., A.L.S., 'Contributions to the Osteology of Birds,' Part V., Falconiformes. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1902, Vol. I., Part ii., August 1, 1902, pp. 277-320, pls. xxxiii.-xxxvii.
  17. ^ 9.Mayr, E. & Amadon, D. 1951. A classification of recent birds. American Museum Novitates 1496: 1-42.
  18. ^ "Secretarybird". Peregrine Fund. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  19. ^ Museu Paulista., & Pinto, O. M. O. (1938). Catalogo das aves do Brasil e lista dos exemplares que as representam no Museu Paulista. São Paulo.
  20. ^ Stresemann E; Amadon D. 1979. Order Falconiformes. in Mayr E; Cottrell GW. Check-list of birds of the world. Vol. 1. 2nd edition.
  21. ^ Dickinson, E., (2003), “The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World (3rd ed.)”, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
  22. ^ The Check-list of North American Birds: The Species of Birds of North America from the Arctic through Panama, including the West Indies and the Hawaiian Islands. Seventh Edition, 1998. 829 pp.
  23. ^ Simpson & Day (1999). A Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, 6th Edition. Penguin. ISBN 0-691-04995-5. 
  24. ^ Simpson & Day (2010). A Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, 8th Edition. Penguin Ltd. and Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691146928. 
  25. ^ Brazil, Mark (2009). Birds of East Asia: China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Russia. Princeton University Press. ISBN 97801691139265 Check |isbn= value: length (help). 
  26. ^ Garrigues, Richard and Dean, Robert (2007). The Birds of Costa Rica. Zona Tropical Publication. ISBN 9780801473739. 
  27. ^ American Ornithologists' Union. 1983. Check-list of North American birds. 6th. Edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, DC.
  28. ^ Poole, A. F. 1994. Family Pandionidae (Osprey). Pp. 42-51 in "Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 2. New World vultures to guineafowl." (J. del Hoyo et al., eds.). Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  29. ^ Ferguson-Lees, J. & Christie, D.A. (2001) Raptors of the World. Christopher Helm, London.
  30. ^ Remsen, J. V., Jr., J. I. Areta, C. D. Cadena, A. Jaramillo, M. Nores, J. F. Pacheco, J. Pérez-Emán, M. B. Robbins, F. G. Stiles, D. F. Stotz, and K. J. Zimmer. Version [????]. A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithologists' Union.
  31. ^ Chesser, R. T., R. C. Banks, F. K. Barker, C. Cicero, J. L. Dunn, A. W. Kratter, I. J. Lovette, P. C. Rasmussen, J. V. Remsen, JR., J. A. Rising, D. F. Stotz, and K. Winker. 2010. Fifty-first supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds. Auk 127: 726–744.
  32. ^ Peterson, Roger Tory (1961). A Field Guide to Western Birds. Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 039513692X. 
  33. ^ Pratt, Thane K.; Beehler, Bruce M.; Anderton, John C. (illu.); and Kókay, Szabolcs (illu.) (2014). Birds of New Guinea: Second Edition. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691095639. 

Hemipus picatus.svg This article is part of Project Bird Taxonomy, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on every order, family and other taxonomic rank related to birds.