Hoatzin Opisthocomus hoazin, copyright Francesco Veronesi.

Belongs within: Ornithurae.
Contains: Pelagornithidae, Galloanseres, Mirandornithes, Gruiformes, Charadriiformes, Caprimulgiformes, Columbaves, Telluraves, Phaethontiformes, Aequornithia.

The Neognathae are one of the primary clades of living birds, excluding only the ratites and tinamous. Members of the clade are characterised by an intrapterygoidal joint allowing greater mobility of the palate, as well as by a conjoint auditory tube and caudally closed ilioischiadic foramina in the pelvis (Mayr 2009). Within the Neognathae, most recent studies agree on a basal division between the galloanserines (gamefowl and waterfowl) and remaining species in the clade Neoaves. Basal relationships within the Neoaves remain highly contentious, with many large-scale analyses differing significantly in their results; some authors have even suggested that the base of Neoaves may be an insoluble hard polytomy. Particularly contentious has been the position of the hoatzin Opisthocomus hoazin, a medium-sized folivorous bird found in the Amazon basin. The Neotropical sunbittern Eurypyga helias and the New Caledonian kagu Rhynochetos jubatus together form another isolated clade that may be related to the tropicbirds of the Phaethontidae.

Neognathae [Amblypterae, Ciconii, Insessores, Odontoanserae, Pullastrae] HK08
    |--+--Pelagornithidae M11
    |  `--Galloanseres PB15
    `--Neoaves (see below for synonymy) HK08
         |  i. s.: Protopelicanus Reichenbach 1852 M05, M02
         |           `--*P. cuvieri Reichenbach 1852 M02
         |         Onychopteryx [Onychopterygidae] M09
         |           `--O. simpsoni Cracraft 1971 M09
         |--+--Juncitarsus Olson & Feduccia 1980 M05, M02 [Juncitarsinae]
         |  |    |--*J. gracillimus Olson & Feduccia 1980 M02
         |  |    `--J. merkeli Peters 1987 M02
         |  |--Mirandornithes KF-V21
         |  `--Palaelodidae [Palaeolontidae] M09
         |       |--Adelalopus hoogbutseliensis Mayr & Smith 2002 M09
         |       |--Palaelodus Milne-Edwards 1863 BV-R98 [=Paloelodus (l. c.) M02; incl. Probalearica Lambrecht 1933 M02]
         |       |    |--*P. ambiguus Milne-Edwards 1869 BV-R98 (see below for synonymy)
         |       |    |--P. crassipes Milne-Edwards 1863 BV-R98, M02
         |       |    |--P. gracilipes Milne-Edwards 1863 BV-R98, M02 (see below for synonymy)
         |       |    |--P. pledgei Baird & Vickers-Rich 1998 BV-R98
         |       |    `--P. wilsoni Baird & Vickers-Rich 1998 BV-R98
         |       `--Megapaloelodus Miller 1944 M02
         |            |--*M. connectens Miller 1944 M02
         |            |--M. goliath (Milne-Edwards 1868) BV-R98, M02 (see below for synonymy)
         |            `--M. opsigonus Brodkorb 1961 U93
         `--+--+--+--Gruiformes KF-V21
            |  |  `--Charadriiformes KF-V15
            |  `--+--+--Caprimulgiformes KF-V15
            |     |  `--Opisthocomidae [Opisthocomi, Opisthocomiformes] KF-V15
            |     |       |--Hoazinoides magdalenae Miller 1953 U93
            |     |       |--Hoazinavis lacustris JM14
            |     |       `--Opisthocomus Illiger 1811 PB15, B94
            |     |            `--O. hoazin (Müller 1776) ME04
            |     `--Columbaves KF-V15
            `--+--Telluraves KF-V15
               `--+--Phaethontimorphae JM14
                  |    |--Phaethontiformes KF-V15
                  |    `--Eurypygiformes [Eurypygae] JM14
                  |         |--Rhynochetos Verreaux & des Murs 1860 (see below for synonymy) L98
                  |         |    |--R. jubatus L98
                  |         |    `--R. orarius Balouet & Olson 1989 U93
                  |         `--Eurypyga Illiger 1811 [Eurypygidae, Eurypygides] L98
                  |              `--E. helias JM14
                  |                   |--E. h. helias RN72
                  |                   |--E. h. major RN72
                  |                   `--E. h. meridionalis RN72
                  `--Aequornithia KF-V21

Inorganic: Opisthocomidus opisthocomidus minilorientalus Okamura 1987 O87

Megapaloelodus goliath (Milne-Edwards 1868) BV-R98, M02 [=Palaelodus goliath M02, Paloelodus (l. c.) goliath M02]

Neoaves [Aequorlitornithes, Anomalogonates, Charadriimorphae, Ciconiae, Ciconiiformes, Ciconiimorphae, Ciconioidea, Coccyges, Columbea, Coronaves, Cuculimorphae, Cursorimorphae, Dendrornithes, Eurypygoidea, Gaviae, Gavii, Gaviomorphae, Grallae, Impennes, Incessores, Inopinaves, Longipennes, Metaves, Oxypterae, Paludicolae, Passerea, Passeres, Pelecani, Picae, Plethornithes, Psittacimorphae, Pygopodes, Pygopodotubinares, Ralliformes, Simplicirostres, Terrestrornithes, Turniciformes] HK08

*Palaelodus ambiguus Milne-Edwards 1869 BV-R98 [incl. Grus miocenicus Grigorescu & Kessler 1977 M02, G. problematica Milne-Edwards 1871 M02, *Probalearica problematica M02]

Palaelodus gracilipes Milne-Edwards 1863 BV-R98, M02 [incl. incl. Paloelodus (l. c.) minutus Milne-Edwards 1868 BV-R98, M02]

Rhynochetos Verreaux & des Murs 1860 [Rhynocheti, Rhynochetidae, Rhynochetides, Rhynochetoidea] L98

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BV-R98] Baird, R. F., & P. Vickers-Rich. 1998. Palaelodus (Aves: Palaelodidae) from the Middle to Late Cainozoic of Australia. Alcheringa 22 (2): 135–151.

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[JM14] Jarvis, E. D., S. Mirarab, A. J. Aberer, B. Li, P. Houde, C. Li, S. Y. W. Ho, B. C. Faircloth, B. Nabholz, J. T. Howard, A. Suh, C. C. Weber, R. R. de Fonseca, J. Li, F. Zhang, H. Li, L. Zhou, N. Narula, L. Liu, G. Ganapathy, B. Boussau, M. S. Bayzid, V. Zavidovych, S. Subramanian, T. Gabaldón, S. Capella-Gutiérrez, J. Huerta-Cepas, B. Rekepalli, K. Munch, M. Schierup, B. Lindow, W. C. Warren, D. Ray, R. E. Green, M. W. Bruford, X. Zhan, A. Dixon, S. Li, N. Li, Y. Huang, E. P. Derryberry, M. F. Bertelsen, F. H. Sheldon, R. T. Brumfield, C. V. Mello, P. V. Lovell, M. Wirthlin, M. P. Cruz Schneider, F. Prosdocimi, J. A. Samaniego, A. M. Vargas Velazquez, A. Alfaro-Núñez, P. F. Campos, B. Petersen, T. Sitcheritz-Ponten, A. Pas, T. Bailey, P. Scofield, M. Bunce, D. M. Lambert, Q. Zhou, P. Perelman, A. C. Driskell, B. Shapiro, Z. Xiong, Y. Zeng, S. Liu, Z. Li, B. Liu, K. Wu, J. Xiao, X. Yinqi, Q. Zheng, Y. Zhang, H. Yang, J. Wang, L. Smeds, F. E. Rheindt, M. Braun, J. Fjeldså, L. Orlando, F. K. Barker, K. A. Jønsson, W. Johnson, K.-P. Koepfli, S. O'Brien, D. Haussler, O. A. Ryder, C. Rahbek, E. Willerslev, G. R. Graves, T. C. Glenn, J. McCormack, D. Burt, H. Ellegren, P. Alström, S. V. Edwards, A. Stamatakis, D. P. Mindell, J. Cracraft, E. L. Braun, T. Warnow, W. Jun, M. T. P. Gilbert & G. Zhang. 2014. Whole-genome analyses resolve early branches in the tree of life of modern birds. Science 346 (6215): 1320–1331.

[KF-V21] Kuhl, H., C. Frankl-Vilches, A. Bakker, G. Mayr, G. Nikolaus, S. T. Boerno, S. Klages, B. Timmermann & M. Gahr. 2021. An unbiased molecular approach using 3′-UTRs resolves the avian family-level tree of life. Molecular Biology and Evolution 38 (1): 108–127.

[L98] Livezey, B. C. 1998. A phylogenetic analysis of the Gruiformes (Aves) based on morphological characters, with an emphasis on the rails (Rallidae). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B—Biological Sciences 353: 2077–2151.

[M05] Mayr, G. 2005. The Paleogene fossil record of birds in Europe. Biological Reviews 80: 515–542.

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

[M11] Mayr, G. 2011. Cenozoic mystery birds—on the phylogenetic affinities of the bony-toothed birds (Pelagornithidae). Zoologica Scripta 40: 448–467.

[ME04] Mayr, G., & P. G. P. Ericson. 2004. Evidence for a sister group relationship between the Madagascan mesites (Mesitornithidae) and the cuckoos (Cuculidae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 84 (1–2): 1–17.

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

[O87] Okamura, C. 1987. New facts: Homo and all Vertebrata were born simultaneously in the former Paleozoic in Japan. Original Report of the Okamura Fossil Laboratory 15: 347–573.

[PB15] Prum, R. O., J. S. Berv, A. Dornburg, D. J. Field, J. P. Townsend, E. M. Lemmon & A. R. Lemmon. 2015. A comprehensive phylogeny of birds (Aves) using targeted next-generation DNA sequencing. Nature 526: 569–573.

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

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

Last updated: 29 January 2022.

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