Greater vasa parrot Coracopsis vasa, copyright AEM.

Belongs within: Telluraves.
Contains: Cacatuidae, Psittacidae, Psittaculidae.

The Psittaciformes, including the parrots and their fossil relatives, are zygodactyl birds of which living species possess a robust bill specialised for breaking open seeds and nuts. Known stem parrots from the Eocene of Europe and India include the Quercypsittidae and Psittacopes lepidus. Psittacopes lepidus, from the Messel Formation of Germany, had a bill that was much less hooked and robust than that of living parrots (the beak of Quercypsittidae is unknown) (Mayr 2009). Within the crown group, recent phylogenetic studies agree that a clade of New Zealand parrots including the kakapo Strigops habroptilus, kaka Nestor meridionalis and kea N. notabilis represents the sister group to other living parrots.

    |  i. s.: Bavaripsitta Mayr & Göhlich 2004 MG04
    |           `--*B. ballmanni Mayr & Göhlich 2004 MG04
    |         ‘Nanodes’ Stephens in Shaw 1826 Z93
    |         Messelasturidae M09
    |           |--Messelastur Peters 1994 M05b
    |           |    `--*M. gratulator Peters 1994 Ml02
    |           `--Tynskya Mayr 2000 M05b
    |                `--*T. eocaena Mayr 2000 Ml02
    |--Psittacopes Mayr & Daniels 1998 Ma02, M05a
    |    `--*P. lepidus Mayr & Daniels 1998 Ml02
    |--Quercypsittidae Ma02
    |    |--Vastanavis eocaena Mayr et al. 2007 M09
    |    `--Quercypsitta Mourer-Chauviré 1992 Ml02
    |         |--*Q. sudrei Mourer-Chauviré 1992 Ml02
    |         `--Q. ivani Mourer-Chauviré 1992 Ml02
    `--+--Strigopoidea [Nestoroidea] JT12
       |    |--Strigops Gray 1845 JT12 (see below for synonymy)
       |    |    `--*S. habroptilus Gray 1845 (see below for synonymy) CC10
       |    `--Nestoridae JT12
       |         |--Nelepsittacus Worthy, Tennyson & Scofield 2011 JT12
       |         |    `--N. minimus OF19
       |         `--Nestor Lesson 1830 JT12 (see below for synonymy)
       |              |--N. meridionalis (Gmelin 1788) [=Psittacus meridionalis] CC10
       |              |    |--N. m. meridionalis (see below for synonymy) CC10
       |              |    `--N. m. septentrionalis Lorenz 1896 CC10
       |              |--N. notabilis Gould 1856 [=*Doreenia notabilis] CC10
       |              `--N. productus (Gould 1836) (see below for synonymy) CC10
       `--+--Cacatuidae JT12
          `--Psittacoidea JT12
               |--Psittacidae JT12
               `--+--Psittaculidae JT12
                  `--Psittrichasidae JT12
                       |--Psittrichas Lesson 1831 (see below for synonymy) JT12
                       |    `--P. fulgidus JT12
                       `--+--Mascarinus Lesson 1831 JT12
                          |    `--M. mascarinus FS01
                          `--Coracopsis Wagler 1832 [Coracopinae, Coracopseinae] JT12
                               |--C. nigra JT12
                               |    |--C. n. nigra RN72
                               |    |--C. n. barklyi RN72
                               |    |--C. n. libs RN72
                               |    `--C. n. sibilans RN72
                               `--C. vasa KK05
                                    |--C. v. vasa RN72
                                    |--C. v. comorensis RN72
                                    `--C. v. drouhardi RN72

Nestor Lesson 1830 JT12 [incl. Centrourus Swainson 1837 CC10, Centrurus Strickland 1841 CC10, Doreenia Mathews 1930 CC10; Nestorinae, Nestorini]

Nestor meridionalis meridionalis (Gmelin 1788) [incl. Psittacus australis Shaw 1792, *Centrourus australis, Nestor australis, N. esslingii Souancé 1856, N. esslingi, N. meridionalis var. esslingii, Psittacus hypopolius Forster 1794, N. hypopolius Wagler 1832, N. montanus Finsch 1868, P. nestor Latham 1790, P. (Kakadoe) nestor, *Nestor novaezelandiae Lesson 1830, N. occidentalis Buller 1869, N. superbus Buller 1865] CC10

Nestor productus (Gould 1836) [=Plyctolophus productus, Centrurus productus; incl. Nestor norfolcensis Pelzeln 1860] CC10

Psittrichas Lesson 1831 [incl. Dasyptilus Wagler 1832; Dasyptilidae, Dasyptilinae, Psittrichadidae, Psittrichadinae, Psittrichadini, Psittrichasinae] JT12

Strigops Gray 1845 JT12 [=Strigopsis Bonaparte 1849 CC10, Stringops Finsch 1867 CC10, Stringopsis van der Hoeven 1855 CC10; Strigopidae JT12, Strigopinae, Strigopini, Stringopinae]

*Strigops habroptilus Gray 1845 [=*Strigopsis habroptilus, *Stringops (Strigops) habroptilus; incl. Strigops greyii Gray 1862, Stringops greyi, Strigops habroptilus innominatus Mathews & Iredale 1913, Strigops habroptilus parsonsi Mathews & Iredale 1913] CC10

*Type species of generic name indicated


[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.

[FS01] Flannery, T., & P. Schouten. 2001. A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals. Text Publishing: Melbourne.

[JT12] Joseph, L., A. Toon, E. E. Schirtzinger, T. F. Wright & R. Schodde. 2012. A revised nomenclature and classification for family-group taxa of parrots (Psittaciformes). Zootaxa 3205: 26–40.

[KK05] Kloet, R. S. de, & S. R. de Kloet. 2005. The evolution of the spindlin gene in birds: sequence analysis of an intron of the spindlin W and Z gene reveals four major divisions of the Psittaciformes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36: 706–721.

[Ma02] Mayr, G. 2002. On the osteology and phylogenetic affinities of the Pseudasturidae—Lower Eocene stem-group representatives of parrots (Aves, Psittaciformes). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 136: 715–729.

[M05a] Mayr, G. 2005a. The Paleogene fossil record of birds in Europe. Biological Reviews 80: 515–542.

[M05b] Mayr, G. 2005b. The postcranial osteology and phylogenetic position of the Middle Eocene Messelastur gratulator Peters, 1994—a morphological link between owls (Strigiformes) and falconiform birds? Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 25 (3): 635–645.

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

[MG04] Mayr, G., & U. B. Göhlich. 2004. A new parrot from the Miocene of Germany, with comments on the variation of hypotarsus morphology in some Psittaciformes. Belgian Journal of Zoology 134: 476–54.

[Ml02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[RN72] Rutgers, A., & K. A. Norris (eds.) 1972. Encyclopaedia of Aviculture vol. 2. Blandford Press: London.

[Z93] Zimmerman, E. C. 1993. Australian Weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea) vol. 3. Nanophyidae, Rhynchophoridae, Erirhinidae, Curculionidae: Amycterinae, literature consulted. CSIRO Australia.

Last updated: 5 August 2019.

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