Osprey Pandion haliaetus carrying nesting material, photographed by Larry Meade.

Belongs within: Anomalogonatae.
Contains: Elaninae, Perninae, Aegypiinae, Circaetinae, Aquilinae, Buteoninae, Milvinae, Haliaeetus, Accipiter.

The Accipitridae include kites, hawks, eagles and related birds of prey. This is a diverse family of raptors whose members usually have wings that are rounded at the tips, and a beak without a notch in the upper bill (Austin 1961). The basalmost member of the family as recognised here is the osprey Pandion haliaetus, a specialised fish-eating species that is often regarded as distinct enough to be placed in its own separate family. Other distinctive members of the family include the African harrier-hawks of the genus Polyboroides, grey, gracile raptors with highly mobile intertarsal joints that allow them to extract prey from tight retreats (Naish 2010).

<==Accipitridae [Accipitriformes, Accipitroidea] JT12
    |--Pandion Savigny 1809 JT12, B94 [Pandionidae, Pandioninae]
    |    `--P. haliaetus (Linnaeus 1758) [=Falco haliaetus] WS48
    |         |--P. h. haliaetus S13
    |         |--P. h. carolinensis S18
    |         |--P. h. cristatus (Vieillot 1816) [=Buteo cristatus] WS48
    |         |--P. h. leucocephalus S13
    |         `--P. h. melvillensis Mathews 1912 WS48
    `--+--Elaninae LM05
       `--+--+--Polyboroides Smith 1829 LM05, B94 [incl. Gymnogenys Lesson 1830 B94; Gymnogenyinae, Polyboroidinae]
          |  |    |--P. radiatus N10 [=Gymnogenys radiatus S66]
          |  |    `--P. typus N10
          |  `--+--Perninae LM05
          |     `--Gypaetinae LM05
          |          |--Gypohierax Rüppell 1836 LM05, B94 [incl. Racama Gray 1840 B94; Gypohieracinae, Racaminae]
          |          |    `--G. angolensis WH02
          |          `--+--Eutriorchis astur LM05
          |             `--+--Gypaetus Storr 1784 LM05, M02
          |                |    `--G. barbatus (Linnaeus 1758) [=Vultur barbatus] M02
          |                `--Neophron Savigny 1809 LM05, B94 (see below for synonymy)
          |                     |--N. percnopterus WH02
          |                     `--N. pileatus D66
          `--+--+--Aegypiinae LM05
             |  `--Circaetinae LM05
             `--+--Macheiramphus Bonaparte 1850 WH02, B94 (see below for synonymy)
                |    `--M. alcinus [incl. Stringonyx anderssoni Gurney 1865] Ba66
                `--+--+--Aquilinae LM05
                   |  `--Harpiinae LM05
                   |       |--Harpyopsis Salvadori 1875 LM05, B94 [Harpyopseinae]
                   |       |    `--H. novaeguineae LM05
                   |       `--+--Harpia Vieillot 1816 LM05, B94 [incl. Thrasaetos Bonaparte 1838 B94; Thrasaetinae]
                   |          |    `--H. harpyja N10 [=Thrasaetus harpyia S18]
                   |          `--Morphnus Dumont 1816 LM05, B94 [Morphninae]
                   |               `--M. guianensis WH02
                   `--+--‘Accipiter’ trivirgatus JT12
                      `--+--+--Harpagus Vigors 1824 JT12, B94 [Harpaginae]
                         |  |    |--H. bidentatus JT12
                         |  |    `--H. diodon JT12
                         |  `--+--Buteoninae LM05
                         |     `--+--Milvinae LM05
                         |        `--Haliaeetus LM05
                         `--+--Accipitrinae LM05
                            |    |--Accipiter LM05
                            |    |--Megatriorchis doriae LM05, JT12
                            |    `--Erythrotriorchis LM05
                            |         |--E. buergersi JT12
                            |         `--E. radiatus (Latham 1801) (see below for synonymy) WS48
                            `--+--Kaupifalco monogrammicus JT12
                               `--+--+--‘Melierax’ gabar JT12
                                  |  `--‘Accipiter’ superciliosus JT12
                                  `--+--Urotriorchis macrourus JT12
                                     `--Melierax [incl. Micronisus; Melieraxinae] LM05
                                          |--‘Micronisus’ badius Bu66
                                          |--M. canorus JT12
                                          |--M. metabates von Heuglin 1861 (see below for synonymy) S05
                                          `--M. poliopterus JT12

Accipitridae incertae sedis:
  Titanohierax borrasi WH02
  Palaeoborus rosatus FP64
  Asturina Vieillot 1816 [Asturininae] B94
    |--A. magnirostris SS66
    `--A. nitida S18
  Cruschedula Ameghino 1899 [Cruschedulidae] S72
    `--*C. revola Ameghino 1899 S72
  Aquilavus Lambrecht 1933 M02
    `--*A. depredator (Milne-Edwards 1871) (see below for synonymy) M02
  Palaeocircus Milne-Edwards 1871 M02
    `--*P. cuvieri Milne-Edwards 1871 M02
  Palaeohierax Milne-Edwards 1871 M02
    `--*P. gervaisii (Milne-Edwards 1863) [=Aquila gervaisii] M02
  Garganoaetus Ballmann 1973 M02
    |--*G. freudenthali Ballmann 1973 M02
    `--G. murivorus Ballmann 1973 M02
  Buthierax Kretzoi 1977 M02
    `--*B. pouliani Kretzoi 1977 M02
  Uroaetus audax (Latham 1801) [=Vultur audax; incl. Aquila audax carteri Mathews 1912] WS48
  Helicolestes hamatus JT12

*Aquilavus depredator (Milne-Edwards 1871) [=Aquila depredator, Eutolmaetus depredator, Nisaetus depredator] M02

Erythrotriorchis radiatus (Latham 1801) [=Falco radiatus; incl. E. rufotibia Campbell 1911] WS48

Macheiramphus Bonaparte 1850 WH02, B94 [=Machaeramphus Westerman 1851 B94; Machaeramphinae, Macheiramphinae]

Melierax metabates von Heuglin 1861 [incl. Falco (Nisus) polyzonus Rüppell 1836, F. polegonatus ms] S05

Neophron Savigny 1809 LM05, B94 [incl. Percnopterus Rafinesque 1815 B94; Neophroninae, Percnopterinae]

*Type species of generic name indicated


Austin, O. L., Jr. 1961. Birds of the World: A survey of the twenty-seven orders and one hundred and fifty-five families. Paul Hamlyn: London.

[Ba66] Bartlett, A. D. 1866. Observations on Stringonyx anderssoni. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 324.

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

[Bu66] Bulger, G. E. 1866. List of birds observed at Wellington, Neilgherry Hills, about 6000 feet above the level of the sea, during the months of April and May, 1866. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 568-571.

[D66] Dohrn, H. 1866. Synopsis of the birds of Ilha do Principe, with some remarks on their habits and descriptions of new species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 324-332.

[FP64] Fisher, J., & R. T. Peterson. 1964. The World of Birds: A comprehensive guide to general ornithology. Macdonald: London.

[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.

[LM05] Lerner, H. R. L. & D. P. Mindell. 2005. Phylogeny of eagles, Old World vultures, and other Accipitridae based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37: 327-346.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[N10] Naish, D. 2010. Tetrapod Zoology: Book One. CFZ Press: Bideford (UK).

[S13] Sarasin, F. 1913. Die Vögel Neu-Caledoniens und der Loyalty-Inseln. In Nova Caledonia: Forschungen in Neu-Caledonian und auf den Loyalty-Inseln. A. Zoologie vol. 1, Heft I (F. Sarasin & J. Roux, eds) pp. 1-78, pl. 1-3. C. W. Kreidels Verlag: Wiesbaden.

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

[SS66] Sclater, P. L., & O. Salvin. 1866. Catalogue of birds collected by Mr. E. Bartlett on the River Uyacali, Eastern Peru, with notes and descriptions of new species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 175-201.

[S72] Simpson, G. G. 1972. Conspectus of Patagonian fossil penguins. American Museum Novitates 2488: 1-37.

[S05] Steinheimer, F. D. 2005. Eduard Rüppel’s avian types at the Natural History Museum, Tring (Aves). Senckenbergiana Biologica 85 (2): 233-264.

[S18] Stone, W. 1918. Birds of the Panama Canal Zone, with special reference to a collection made by Mr. Lindsey L. Jewel. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 70: 239-280.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M. & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1-126.

[WH02] Worthy, T. H., & R. N. Holdaway. 2002. The Lost World of the Moa: Prehistoric life of New Zealand. Indiana University Press: Bloomington (Indiana).

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