Rock wren Xenicus gilviventris, photographed by Pete McGregor.

Belongs within: Anomalogonatae.
Contains: Suboscines, Menurae, Euoscines.

The Passeriformes are the passerine or perching birds, a clade including over half the living bird species. Passerines are primarily distinguished by their foot morphology, with an enlarged non-reversible hallux that is level with the other toes. Recent phylogenies have agreed in placing the Acanthisittidae—small, weakly flying birds with greatly reduced tails that are restricted to New Zealand (commonly referred to as the New Zealand wrens)—at the base of the passerine tree.

Synapomorphies (from Raikow 1982): Aegithognathous palate; tensor propatagialis brevis tendon extending through patagium to insertion on surface of extensor metacarpi radialis, then turning proximad and extending to insertion on humerus; spermatozoa bundled with coiled head and large acrosome; enlarged hallux; type VII deep plantar tendons (absent in Eurylaimidae); M. pubo-ischio femoralis with two sectors positioned cranially (pars cranialis) and caudally (pars caudalis) of each other; intrinsic foot muscles of digits II-IV absent (except occasional presence of reduced extensor brevis digiti IV).

<==Passeriformes [Ampelidae, Ampelididae, Clamatores, Eurylaimi, Oligomyodi, Passeres, Tyranni]
    |--Eupasseres EC02
    |    |--Suboscines EC02
    |    `--Oscines [Menuroidea, Passeri] EC02
    |         |--Menurae EC02
    |         `--Euoscines EC02
    `--Acanthisittidae [Acanthidosittidae, Acanthisittia] EC02
         |--Dendroscansor decurvirostris Millener & Worthy 1991 WH02
         |--Traversia Rothschild 1894 [Traversiidae] GM91
         |    `--*T. lyalli Rothschild 1894 WH02 [=Xenicus lyalli HWT01; incl. X. insularis Buller 1895 GM91]
         |--Pachyplichas WH02
         |    |--P. jagmi Millener 1981 WH02
         |    `--P. yaldwyni Millener 1981 WH02
         |--Acanthisitta Lafresnaye 1842 [=Acanthidositta Buller 1887] B94
         |    `--A. chloris (Sparrman 1787) WH02
         |         |--A. c. chloris R85
         |         |--A. c. citrina FST81
         |         `--A. c. granti Mathews & Iredale 1913 R85
         `--Xenicus Gray 1855 [incl. Xenicornis Iredale & Mathews 1926; Xenicidae, Xenicornithidae] B94
              |--X. gilviventris Pelzeln 1867 WH02 [incl. X. g. rineyi R85]
              `--X. longipes (Gmelin 1789) WH02
                   |--X. l. longipes GM91
                   |--X. l. stokesii Gray 1862 R85
                   `--X. l. variabilis Stead 1936 GM91

Passeriformes incertae sedis:
  Passerherbulus henslowii W69
  Pedinorhis stirpsarcana SWK87
  Ixocincla madagascariensis A61
  Nuttallornis borealis A61
  Penthestes atricapillus CM07
  Dendroscopus mahrattensis RD02
  Coquus USDI77
    |--C. newtoni USDI77
    `--C. typicus USDI77
  Hemipteryx Scl66
    |--H. immaculata Hartlaub in Sclater 1866 Scl66
    `--H. textrix Scl66
  Drymoeca subruficapilla Scl66
  Campicola pileata Scl66
  Bessonornis phoenicurus Scl66
  Petrocincla explorator Scl66
  Hyphantornis Scl66
    |--H. olivaceus Scl66
    `--H. spilonotus Scl66
  Chera progne Scl66
  Crithagra Scl66
    |--C. canicollis Scl66
    `--C. sulphurata Scl66
  Poliospiza gularis Scl66
  Fringillaria capensis Scl66
  Cuphopterus Hartlaub in Dohrn 1866 D66
    `--*C. dohrni Hartlaub in Dohrn 1866 D66
  Parinia leucophaea D66
  Buserinus rufilatus Hartlaub in Dohrn 1866 D66
  Symplectes princeps D66
  Bradyornis H66
    |--‘Crateropus’ guttatus H66
    `--B. spekei H66
  Mixornis W66
    |--M. flavicollis [=Timalia flavicollis] W66
    |--M. gularis (see below for synonymy) W66
    `--M. rubicapilla (Tickell 1833) [=Motacilla rubicapilla; incl. Mi. chloris, Mi. ruficeps] W66
  Leucocerca pectoralis B66
  Otocompsa jocosa B66
  Calobates B66
    |--C. melanope [=Motacilla melanope] S89
    `--C. sulphurea B66
  Munia W66
    |--M. acuticauda W66
    |--M. amandava Sch66
    |--M. malabarica B66
    |--M. oryzivora Sch66
    |--M. punctularia Sch66 [=Loxia punctularia W66]
    |--M. striata W66
    `--M. undulata [=Loxia undulata] W66
  Geobasileus R66
    |--G. chrysorrhous R66
    `--G. reguloides R66
  Turdicus Kretzoi 1962 M02
    `--*T. tenuis Kretzoi 1962 M02
  ‘Turdoides’ Jánossy 1979 non Crezschmar 1827 M02
    `--*T. borealis Jánossy 1979 M02
  Chloridops kona FS01

Mixornis gularis [=Motacilla gularis, Myiothera gularis, Timalia gularis; incl. Prinia pileata Blyth 1842, Mixornis sumatranus] W66

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A61] 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.

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

[B66] 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.

[CM07] Cokendolpher, J. C., & P. G. Mitov. 2007. Natural enemies. In Harvestmen: The Biology of Opiliones (R. Pinto-da-Rocha, G. Machado & G. Giribet, eds) pp. 339-373. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[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.

[EC02] Ericson, P. G. P., L. Christidis, M. Irestedt & J. A. Norman. 2002. Systematic affinities of the lyrebirds (Passeriformes: Menura), with a novel classification of the major groups of passerine birds. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 25: 53-62.

[FST81] Falla, R. A., R. B. Sibson & E. G. Turbott. 1981. Collins Guide to the Birds of New Zealand and Outlying Islands 2nd ed. with addenda. Collins: Auckland.

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

[GM91] Gill, B., & P. Martinson. 1991. New Zealand’s Extinct Birds. Random Century: Auckland (New Zealand).

[H66] Hartlaub, G. 1866. On a new species of the genus Crateropus, Sw. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 435-436.

[HWT01] Holdaway, R. N., T. H. Worthy & A. J. D. Tennyson. 2001. A working list of breeding bird species of the New Zealand region at first human contact. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 28: 119-187.

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

Raikow, R. J. 1982. Monophyly of the Passeriformes: test of a phylogenetic hypothesis. Auk 99 (3): 431-455.

[R66] Ramsay, E. P. 1866. Notes on the most frequent fosterparents of the cuckoos of Australia. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 571-577.

[R85] Robertson, C. J. R. (ed.) 1985. Reader’s Digest Complete Book of New Zealand Birds. Reader’s Digest: Sydney.

[RD02] Robin, V. V., & P. Davidar. 2002. The vertical stratification of birds in mixed species flocks at Parambikulam, south India: a comparison between two habitats. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 99 (3): 389-399.

[S89] Salvadori, T. 1889. Viaggio di Leonardo Fea nella Birmania e nelle regioni vicine. XIX. – Uccelli raccolti nei Monti Carin a nord-est di Tounghoo, nel Pegù presso Rangoon e Tounghoo e nel Tenasserim presso Malewoon. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova, Serie 2a 7: 369-438.

[Sch66] Schlegel, H. 1866. Communication from, on mammals and birds collected in Madagascar. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 419-426.

[Scl66] Sclater, P. L. 1866. Report on birds collected at Windvogelberg, South Africa, by Capt. G. E. Bulger, C. M. Z. S. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 21-23.

[SWK87] Snyder, N. F. R., J. W. Wiley & C. B. Kepler. 1987. The Parrots of Luquillo: Natural history and conservation of the Puerto Rican parrot. Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology: Los Angeles.

[USDI77] USDI (United States Department of the Interior). 1977. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants - republication of list of species. Federal Register 42: 36420-36431.

[W66] Walden, A. 1866. Notes on birds collected in Tennasserim and in the Andaman Islands. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 537-556.

[W69] Wiens, J. A. 1969. An approach to the study of ecological relationships among grassland birds. Ornithological Monographs 8: 1-93.

[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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