Greater rheas Rhea americana, copyright Nino Barbieri.

Belongs within: Ornithurae.
Contains: Struthio, Casuariiformes, Apteryx, Aepyornithidae, Dinornithiformes, Lithornithidae, Tinamidae, Neoaves, Anseriformes, Pangalliformes.

The name 'Aves' is used here to refer to the crown group of birds. In recent years, a consensus has developed between most phylogenetic studies (both morphological and molecular) that the Palaeognathae (ratites and tinamous) are the basalmost lineage within modern birds, with their sister group divided between the Galloanserae (including gamefowl and waterfowl) and the Neoaves (including all other birds). Living ratites are flightless birds of South America, Africa and Australasia, characterised by the absence of a keel on the sternum. They include the Rheidae, rheas, of South America, three-toed ostrich-like birds with greyish plumage. Recent molecular analyses (e.g. Burleigh et al. 2015) have suggested that the flighted Tinamidae (tinamous), which do have a keeled sternum, are nested within the living ratites, suggesting convergent evolution of the unkeeled sternum in various ratite lineages.

Several fossil birds remain doubtfully placed within this framework. Remiornis heberti is known from limb bones in the late Palaeocene of France, and may be a member of the palaeognaths (Mayr 2005). Eremopezus eocaenus is another very large bird from the upper Eocene of Egypt; though known only from leg bones, these indicate that it had very mobile toes, probably related to raptorial habits, rather than the cursorial or graviportal feet of modern ratites (Rasmussen et al. 2001).

See also: A frustrating giant bird; How irritable is this bird?; Bird evolution—problems with Science; More from the "They don't write papers like they used to" files.

<==Aves [Cursores, Gallinae, Neornithes]
    |--Palaeognathae (see below for synonymy) HK08
    |    |  i. s.: Remiornis Lemoine 1881 M02 [Remiornithidae M05, Remiornithiformes]
    |    |           |--*R. heberti Lemoine 1881 M02
    |    |           `--R. minor (Lemoine 1878) [=Gastornis minor] M02
    |    |         Palaeotis Lambrecht 1928 M02 [Palaeotididae M05]
    |    |           `--*P. weigelti Lambrecht 1928 (see below for synonymy) M02
    |    |         Eleutherornis Schaub 1940 M02 [Eleutherornithidae FP64, Eleutherornithini]
    |    |           `--*E. helveticus Schaub 1940 M02
    |    |         Eremopezus Andrews 1904 ML14, RS01 [Eremopezidae, Eremopezithes]
    |    |           `--*E. eocaenus Andrews 1904 [incl. Stromeria fajumensis Lambrecht 1929, S. fayumensis] RS01
    |    |--Struthio BKB15
    |    `--+--Rheidae [Rheiformes] BKB15
    |       |    |  i. s.: Opisthodactylus patagonicus Ameghino 1891 AH03
    |       |    |         Heterorhea dabbeni FP64
    |       |    |--Diogenornis fragilis ML14
    |       |    `--+--Pterocnemia pennata L81
    |       |       `--Rhea Brisson 1760 HK08, B94
    |       |            |--R. americana HK08
    |       |            `--R. pennata JT12
    |       `--+--+--Casuariiformes BKB15
    |          |  `--+--Apteryx BKB15
    |          |     `--Aepyornithidae ML14
    |          `--+--Dinornithiformes BKB15
    |             `--+--Lithornithidae ML14
    |                `--Tinamidae BKB15
    `--Neognathae [Amblypterae, Ciconii, Insessores, Pullastrae] HK08
         |  i. s.: Walbeckornis Mayr 2007 M07
         |           `--*W. creber Mayr 2007 M07
         |--Neoaves HK08
         `--Galloanseres [Galloanserae, Galloanserimorphae] JM14
              |--Anseriformes HK08
              `--Pangalliformes HK08

Aves incertae sedis:
  ‘Dimorpha’ Hodgson 1841 nec Panzer 1806 nec Gray 1840 C-S93
  Malacias S89
    |--M. castanopterus Salvadori 1889 S89
    `--M. melanoleucus S89
  Poliopsar S89
    |--P. fuscogularis Salvadori 1889 S89
    `--P. nemoricola [=Sturnia nemoricola] S89
  Trichostoma rubiginosa Walden 1875 S89
  Actinura ramsayi Walden 1875 S89
  Digenea cerviniventris Sharpe 1879 S89
  Lophospizias trivirgatus [=Astur trivirgatus] S89
  Scelospizias poliopsis S89
  Xantholaema haemacephala S89
  Chrysophlegma S89
    |--C. chlorolophum [=C. chlorolophus, Geclaus chlorolophus] S89
    `--C. flavinucha S89
  Lepocestes pyrrhotis [=Venilia pyrrhotis] S89
  Rhopodytes S89
    |--R. sumatranus [=Poliococcyx sumatranus] S89
    `--R. tristis S89
  Centrococcyx bengalensis S89
  Entomobia smyrnensis S89
  Dichoceros bicornis S89
  Hydrornis oatesi S89
  Cryptolopha S89
    |--C. bicolor Styan 1892 L03
    |--C. schwaneri S89
    |--C. superciliaris S89
    `--C. tephrocephala S89
  Muscicapula maculata S89
  Stoparola melanops S89
  Volvocivora melanoptera [=Campophaga melanoptera] S89
  Chaptia aenea S89
  Bhringa remifer S89
  Chibia splendens S89
  Dendrophila frontalis S89
  Machlolophus spilonotus S89
  Allotrius S89
    |--A. intermedius S89
    `--A. melanotis [=Ptererythrius melanotis] S89
  Mesia argentauris S89
  Siva S89
    |--S. cyanuroptera S89
    `--S. sordida S89
  Staphidia striata S89
  Timelia bengalensis S89
  Dryonastes chinensis S89
  Trochalopteron melanostigma S89
  Lioptila saturata S89
  Suya superciliaris S89
  Notodela leucura [=Myiomela leucura] S89
  Oreocincla dauma S89
  Oreicola ferrea S89
  Euplocomus lineatus S89
  Arboricola S89
    |--A. brunneipectus S89
    `--A. rufogularis S89
  Ardeiralla flavicollis S89
  Iyngipicus pumilus [=Picus pumilus] S89
  Nectarophila hasselti [=Cinnyris hasselti] S89
  Cyrtostomus flammaxillaris [=Cinnyris flammaxillaris] S89
  Cyanops ramsayi P89
  Erythrosterna acornaus Be66
  Petrocossyphus cyaneus Be66
  Chrysonotus intermedius Be66
  Cyanotis Scl66
    |--C. azarae Scl66
    `--C. omnicolor Scl66
  Noctua Sch66
    |--N. polleni Sch66
    `--N. sonneratii Sch66
  Gervaisia albispecularis Sch66
  Oxynotus Sch66
    |--O. ferrugineus Sch66
    `--O. newtoni Sch66
  Hartlaubia madagascariensis Sch66
  Taccocua leschenaultii Bu66
  ‘Heteromorpha’ Hodgson 1843 nec Hübner 1822 nec Kirby 1823 NO08
  Fluviatilavis Harrison 1983 M02
    `--*F. antunesi Harrison 1983 M02
  Actiornis Lydekker 1891 M02
    `--*A. anglicus Lydekker 1891 M02
  Ardeacites Haushalter 1855 M02
    `--*A. molassicus Haushalter 1855 M02
  Chenornis Portis 1884 M02
    `--*C. graculoides Portis 1884 M02
  Coturnipes Harrison & Walker 1977 M02
    `--*C. cooperi Harrison & Walker 1977 M02
  Miofulica Lambrecht 1933 M02
    `--*M. dejardini (Beneden 1871) [=Fulica dejardinii] M02
  Gigantibis Harrison & Walker 1976 M02
    `--*G. incognita Harrison & Walker 1976 M02
  Homalopus Milne-Edwards 1871 M02
    `--*H. picoides Milne-Edwards 1871 M02
  Palaeopapia Harrison & Walker 1979 [=Howardia Harrison & Walker 1976 non Berlese & Leonardi 1896] M02
    `--*P. eous (Harrison & Walker 1976) [=*Howardia eous] M02
  Ibidopodia Milne-Edwards 1871 M02
    `--*I. palustris Milne-Edwards 1871 M02
  Kievornis Aver’janov, Potapova & Nesov 1990 M02
    `--*K. rogovitshi Aver’janov, Potapova & Nesov 1990 M02
  Litoripes Harrison & Walker 1979 M02
    `--*L. medius Harrison & Walker 1979 M02
  Oligocathartes Harrison & Walker 1979 M02
    `--*O. olsoni Harrison & Walker 1979 M02
  Ornitholithes M02
    |--O. bosniaskii Portis 1887 M02
    |--O. faujasi Omboni 1885 M02
    |--O. gabbrensis Portis 1887 M02
    |--O. procaccinii Portis 1887 M02
    `--O. tenuipennis Omboni 1885 M02
  Ornitholithus Dughi & Sirugue 1962 M02
    |--*O. biroi Dughi & Sirugue 1962 M02
    `--O. arcuatus Dughi & Sirugue 1962 (see below for synonymy) M02
  Parvicuculus Harrison & Walker 1977 [Parvicuculidae] M02
    `--*P. minor Harrison & Walker 1977 M02
  Parvigyps Harrison & Walker 1977 M02
    `--*P. praevox Harrison & Walker 1977 M02
  Petropluvialis Harrison & Walker 1976 M02
    `--*P. simplex Harrison & Walker 1976 M02
  Piscator Harrison & Walker 1976 M02
    `--*P. tenuirostris Harrison & Walker 1976 M02
  Pliogrus Lambrecht 1933 M02
    `--*P. germanicus Lambrecht 1933 M02
  Proceriavis Harrison & Walker 1979 M02
    `--*P. maritini Harrison & Walker 1979 M02
  Procuculus Harrison & Walker 1977 M02
    `--*P. minutus Harrison & Walker 1977 M02
  Proplegadis Harrison & Walker 1971 M02
    `--*P. fisheri Harrison & Walker 1971 M02
  Pumiliornis Mayr 1999 M02
    `--*P. tessellatus Mayr 1999 M02
  Teracus Milne-Edwards 1871 [=Ieracus Aymard 1856 (n. n.)] M02
    `--*T. littoralis Milne-Edwards 1871 [=Ieracus littoralis Aymard 1856 (n. n.)] M02
  ‘Macropus’ Nuttall 1824 nec Shaw 1790 nec Latreille 1802 nec Thunberg 1805 S61
  Pengana robertbolesi N10
  Nyctalops Wagler 1832 H11
  Corvultur albicollis K08
  Cranellus Tobias 1844 KA-Z11
  Dysmorodrepanis munroi HSS13
  Graculavidae M07
    |--Graculavus Marsh 1872 M02
    |    `--*G. velox C04
    |--Telmatornis M07
    |--Laornis M07
    `--Palaeotringa M07
  Tshulia Nessov 1988 M07
  Palintropus Brodkorb 1970 M07
  Plectophora Gray 1834 LT61
  Chettusia gregaria C01

Nomen nudum: Ornitholithes ralli Anonymous in Karg 1805 M02

Inorganic: Rhea americana minilorientalis Okamura 1987 O87

Ornitholithus arcuatus Dughi & Sirugue 1962 [incl. O. mammeatus Dughi & Sirugue 1962, O. mammillatus Dughi & Sirugue 1962, O. mammosus Dughi & Sirugue 1962] M02

Palaeognathae [Apteryges, Apterygimorphae, Brevipennes, Palaeognathiformes, Panpalaeognathae, Panratitae, Ratitae, Ratiti, Struthiones, Struthioni, Struthioniformes, Struthionimorphae, Struthionoidea, Timamomorphae] HK08

*Palaeotis weigelti Lambrecht 1928 [incl. Paleogrus geiseltalensis Lambrecht 1935, Ornitocnemus geiseltalensis] M02

*Type species of generic name indicated


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