Template:Short description

Temporal range: Late CretaceousHolocene, 69–0 Ma [1]
Metallic Starling Male
Metallic Starling
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Infraclass: Neognathae
Superorder: Neoaves
Sibley et al., 1988


Neoaves is a clade that consists of all modern birds (Neornithes or Aves) with the exception of Paleognathae (ratites and kin) and Galloanserae (ducks, chickens and kin).[2] Almost 95% of the roughly 10,000 known species of modern birds belong to the Neoaves.[3]

The early diversification of the various neoavian groups occurred very rapidly around the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event,[4][5] and attempts to resolve their relationships with each other have resulted initially in much controversy.[6][7]


The early diversification of the various neoavian groups occurred very rapidly around the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.[8] As a result of the rapid radiation attempts to resolve their relationships have produced conflicting results, some quite controversial, especially in the earlier studies.[9][10][11] Nevertheless, some recent large phylogenomic studies of Neoaves have led to much progress on defining orders and supraordinal groups within Neoaves, even though they have failed to come to a consensus on an overall high order topology of these groups.[12][13][14][11] A genomic study of 48 taxa by Jarvis et al. (2014) divided Neoaves into two main clades, Columbea and Passerea, but an analysis of 198 taxa by Prum et al. (2015) recovered different groupings for the earliest split in Neoaves.[12][13] A reanalysis with an extended dataset by Reddy et al. (2017) suggested this was due the type of sequence data, with coding sequences favouring the Prum topology.[14] The disagreement on topology even with large phylogenomic studies led Suh (2016) to propose a hard polytomy of nine clades as the base of Neoaves.[15] An analysis by Houde et al. (2019) recovered Columbea and a reduced hard polytomy of six clades within Passerea.[16]

Nevertheless, these studies do agree on a number of supraorderal groups, which Reddy et al. (2017) dubbed the "magnificent seven", which together with three "orphaned orders" make up Neoaves.[14] Significantly, they both include a large waterbird clade (Aequornithes) and a large landbird clade (Telluraves). The groups defined by Reddy et al. (2017) are as follows:

  • The "magnificent seven" supraordinal clades:
  1. Telluraves (landbirds)
  2. Aequornithes (waterbirds)
  3. Eurypygimorphae (sunbittern, kagu and tropicbirds)
  4. Otidimorphae (turacos, bustards and cuckoos)
  5. Strisores (nightjars, swifts, hummingbirds and allies)
  6. Columbimorphae (mesites, sandgrouse and pigeons)
  7. Mirandornithes (flamingos and grebes)

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The following cladogram illustrates the proposed relationships between all neoavian bird orders using the supraordinal tree recovered by Prum, R.O. et al. (2015)[1], with some taxon names following Yuri, T. et al. (2013)[2] and Kimball et al. (2013).[3]



Caprimulgiformes (nightjars) 50 px

Steatornithiformes (oilbird) 50 px

Nyctibiiformes (potoos)

Podargiformes (frogmouths) 50 px

Aegotheliformes (owlet-nightjars)

Apodiformes (hummingbirds, treeswifts, and swifts) 50 px


Musophagiformes (turacos)35 px

Otidiformes (bustards)35 px

Cuculiformes (cuckoos)50 px


Columbiformes (pigeons) 40 px

Mesitornithiformes (mesites)50 px

Pterocliformes (sandgrouse)40 px

Gruiformes (rails and cranes)35 px



Phoenicopteriformes (flamingos)35 px

Podicipediformes (grebes)35 px

Charadriiformes (waders and relatives)50 px


Phaethontiformes (tropicbirds)90 px

Eurypygiformes (sunbittern and kagu)50 px


Gaviiformes (loons)


Procellariiformes (albatross and petrels)35 px

Sphenisciformes (penguins) Emperor Penguin

Ciconiiformes (storks)Painted Stork

Suliformes (boobies, cormorants, etc.)Indian Cormorant

Pelecaniformes (pelicans, herons, ibises, etc.)American White Pelican (Las Gallinas Wildlife Ponds)


Opisthocomiformes (hoatzin)Hoatzin



Cathartiformes (New World vultures)Black Vulture

Accipitriformes (hawks and relatives)Pearl Kite


Strigiformes (owls)Western Barn-Owl


Coliiformes (mousebirds)Speckled Mousebird


Leptosomiformes (cuckoo roller)Cuckoo Roller


Trogoniformes (trogons)Surucua Trogon


Bucerotiformes (hornbills and relatives)Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill


Coraciiformes (kingfishers and relatives)Rainbow Bee-eater

Piciformes (woodpeckers and relatives)Hispaniolan Woodpecker


Cariamiformes (seriemas)Red-legged Seriema


Falconiformes (falcons)Peregrine Falcon


Psittaciformes (parrots)Cockatiel

Passeriformes (passerines)House Sparrow


  1. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Prum-2015
  2. ^ Yuri; 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/biology2010419Freely accessible. 
  3. ^ Kimball, R.T.; et al. (2013). "Identifying localized biases in large datasets: A case study using the Avian Tree of Life". Mol Phylogenet Evol. 69: 1021–1032. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2013.05.029. 


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