Helmeted guineafowl Numida meleagris, photographed by Bob Fabry.

Belongs within: Galliformes.
Contains: Phasianidae, Odontophoridae.

The Phasiani (named here in the sense of Livezey & Zusi 2007) include the phasianoid gamebirds: pheasants, quails, grouse, guineafowl and turkeys. Other authors have referred to this clade as the Phasianoidea or Phasianidae (in the latter case, with the constituent families all treated as subfamilies). Phasianoids are distinguished from other gamebirds (megapodes and cracids) by having the hallux raised relative to the other toes.

The guineafowls of the Numididae are found in sub-Saharan Africa. They have a bare head and neck, smooth dark feathers spangled with white, and a short tail that is almost hidden by the tail coverts. They are gregarious, moving and foraging in flocks of varying sizes. One species, the helmeted guineafowl Numida meleagris, is widely kept around the world as a domestic bird. Also found in Africa are the stone partridge Ptilopachus petrosus and Nahan's francolin 'Francolinus' nahani, both previously regarded as phasianids sensu stricto but now recognised as more closely related to the New World Odontophoridae.

Synapomorphies (from Dyke et al. 2003): Caudal end of palatines indented in ventral view; little (or no) pneumaticity of sternal plate; processus craniolateralis angled at 45° with respect to carina sternum; transverse processes of sacral vertebrae short, not reaching level of ilium; hallux raised.

<==Phasiani [Pavonidae, Phasianoidea] LZ07
    |  i. s.: Euplocamus lineatus B66
    |--+--Phasianidae JT12
    |  `--+--Odontophoridae JT12
    |     `--+--‘Francolinus’ nahani BKB15
    |        `--Ptilopachus Swainson 1837 BKB15, B94 [Ptilopachini]
    |             `--P. petrosus JT12
    `--Numididae [Numidinae] JT12
         |  i. s.: Telecrex [Telecrecinae] U93
         |           `--T. grangeri Wetmore 1934 M09
         |--Numida Linnaeus 1766 BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
         |    |--*N. meleagris (Linnaeus 1758) [=Phasianus meleagris; incl. N. ptilorhyncha Lesson 1831] CC10
         |    |    |--N. m. meleagris CC10
         |    |    |--N. m. callewaerti RN72
         |    |    |--N. m. coronata RN72
         |    |    |--N. m. galeata CC10
         |    |    |--N. m. macroceras RN72
         |    |    |--N. m. mitrata B94
         |    |    |--N. m. sabyi RN72
         |    |    `--N. m. strasseni RN72
         |    `--N. tiarata S66
         `--+--+--Acryllium vulturinum BKB15
            |  `--Agelastes Bonaparte 1849 BKB15, B94 [Agelastinae]
            |       |--A. meleagrides JT12
            |       `--A. niger JT12
            `--Guttera BKB15
                 |--G. edouardi RN72
                 |    |--G. e. edouardi RN72
                 |    |--G. e. barbata RN72
                 |    |--G. e. chapani RN72
                 |    |--G. e. schouteneni RN72
                 |    |--G. e. sclateri RN72
                 |    |--G. e. sethsmithi RN72
                 |    |--G. e. suahelica RN72
                 |    `--G. e. verrauxi [incl. G. cristata, G. edouardi pallasi] RN72
                 |--G. plumifea JT12
                 `--G. pucherani JT12

Numida Linnaeus 1766 BKB15, CC10 [incl. Meleagris Chenu & des Murs 1854 nec Linnaeus 1758 nec Montfort 1810 B94]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B66] Bartlett, A. D. 1866. Notes on the breeding of several species of birds in the Society's gardens during the year 1865. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 76–79.

[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

Dyke, G. J., B. E. Gulas & T. M. Crowe. 2003. Suprageneric relationships of galliform birds (Aves, Galliformes): a cladistic analysis of morphological characters. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 137 (2): 227–244.

[HK08] 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 & T. Yuri. 2008. A phylogenomic study of birds reveals their evolutionary history. Science 320: 1763–1768.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[LZ07] Livezey, B. C., & R. L. Zusi. 2007. Higher-order phylogeny of modern birds (Theropoda, Aves: Neornithes) based on comparative anatomy. II. Analysis and discussion. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 149 (1): 1–95.

[M09] Mayr, G. 2009. Paleogene Fossil Birds. Springer.

[RN72] Rutgers, A., & K. A. Norris (eds.) 1972. Encyclopaedia of Aviculture vol. 1. Blandford Press: London.

[S66] Schlegel, H. 1866. Communication from, on mammals and birds collected in Madagascar. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 419–426.

[U93] Unwin, D. M. 1993. Aves. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 717–737. Chapman & Hall: London.

Last updated: 18 June 2019.

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