|Clockwise from top right: Palestine sunbird (Cinnyris osea), blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata), house sparrow (Passer domesticus), great tit (Parus major), hooded crow (Corvus cornix), southern masked weaver (Ploceus velatus)|
|Song of a purple-crowned fairywren (Malurus coronatus)|
|Order:|| Passeriformes |
and see text
|Roughly 140 families, 6,500 species|
A passerine // is any bird of the order Passeriformes ( // , Latin passer (“sparrow”) + formis (“-shaped”)), which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or songbirds, passerines are distinguished from other orders of birds by the arrangement of their toes (three pointing forward and one back), which facilitates perching.
With more than 140 families and some 6,500 identified species,Passeriformes is the largest order of birds and among the most diverse orders of terrestrial vertebrates, representing 60% of birds. Passerines are divided into three suborders: Acanthisitti (New Zealand wrens), Tyranni (suboscines) and Passeri (oscines). The passerines contain several groups of brood parasites such as the viduas, cuckoo-finches, and the cowbirds. Most passerines are omnivorous, while the shrikes are carnivorous.
The terms "passerine" and "Passeriformes" are derived from the scientific name of the house sparrow, Passer domesticus, and ultimately from the Latin term passer, which refers to sparrows and similar small birds.
The order is divided into three suborders, Tyranni (suboscines), Passeri (oscines), and the basal Acanthisitti.Oscines have the best control of their syrinx muscles among birds, producing a wide range of songs and other vocalizations, though some of them, such as the crows, do not sound musical to human beings. Some, such as the lyrebird, are accomplished imitators. The New Zealand wrens are tiny birds restricted to New Zealand, at least in modern times; they were long placed in Passeri.
Most passerines are smaller than typical members of other avian orders. The heaviest and altogether largest passerines are the thick-billed raven 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) and 70 cm (28 in). The superb lyrebird and some birds-of-paradise, due to very long tails or tail coverts, are longer overall. The smallest passerine is the short-tailed pygmy tyrant, at 6.5 cm (2.6 in) and 4.2 g (0.15 oz).and the larger races of common raven, each exceeding
The foot of a passerine has three toes directed forward and one toe directed backward, called anisodactyl arrangement, and the hind toe (hallux) joins the leg at approximately the same level as the front toes. This arrangement enables passerine birds to easily perch upright on branches. The toes have no webbing or joining, but in some cotingas, the second and third toes are united at their basal third.
The leg of passerine birds contains an additional special adaptation for perching. A tendon in the rear of the leg running from the underside of the toes to the muscle behind the tibiotarsus will automatically be pulled and tighten when the leg bends, causing the foot to curl and become stiff when the bird lands on a branch. This enables passerines to sleep while perching without falling off.
Most passerine birds have 12 tail feathers but the superb lyrebird has 16,and several spinetails in the family Furnariidae have 10, 8, or even 6, as is the case of Des Murs's wiretail. Species adapted to tree trunk climbing such as woodcreeper and treecreepers have stiff tail feathers that are used as props during climbing. Extremely long tails used as sexual ornaments are shown by species in different families. A well-known example is the long-tailed widowbird.
The chicks of passerines are altricial: blind, featherless, and helpless when hatched from their eggs. Hence, the chicks require extensive parental care. Most passerines lay coloured eggs, in contrast with nonpasserines, most of whose eggs are white except in some ground-nesting groups such as Charadriiformes and nightjars, where camouflage is necessary, and in some parasitic cuckoos, which match the passerine host's egg. The vinous-throated parrotbill has two egg colours, white and blue, to deter the brood parasitic common cuckoo.
Clutches vary considerably in size: some larger passerines of Australia such as lyrebirds and scrub-robins lay only a single egg, most smaller passerines in warmer climates lay between two and five, while in the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, hole-nesting species like tits can lay up to a dozen and other species around five or six. The family Viduidae do not build their own nests, instead, they lay eggs in other birds' nests.
The evolutionary history of the passerine families and the relationships among them remained rather mysterious until the late 20th century. In many cases, passerine families were grouped together on the basis of morphological similarities that, it is now believed, are the result of convergent evolution, not a close genetic relationship. For example, the wrens of the Americas and Eurasia; those of Australia; and those of New Zealand look superficially similar and behave in similar ways, and yet belong to three far-flung branches of the passerine family tree; they are as unrelated as it is possible to be while remaining Passeriformes.
Advances in molecular biology and improved paleobiogeographical data gradually are revealing a clearer picture of passerine origins and evolution that reconciles molecular affinities, the constraints of morphology and the specifics of the fossil record. million years ago.The first passerines are now thought to have evolved in Gondwana (in the Southern Hemisphere) in the late Paleocene or early Eocene, around 50
The initial split was between the New Zealand wrens (Acanthisittidae) and all other passerines (Eupasserine), and the second split involved the Tyranni (suboscines) and the Passeri (oscines or songbirds).A rupture of the Gondwanan continent caused the core split of the Eupasseres, which were divided into this groups, one in Western Gondwana (Tyranni) and the other in Eastern Gondwana (Passeri). Passeri experienced a great radiation of forms out of the Australian continent. A major branch of the Passeri, parvorder Passerida, expanded deep into Eurasia and Africa, where a further explosive radiation of new lineages occurred. This eventually led to three major Passerida lineages comprising about 4,000 species, which in addition to the Corvida and numerous minor lineages make up songbird diversity today. Extensive biogeographical mixing happens, with northern forms returning to the south, southern forms moving north, and so on.
Perching bird osteology, especially of the limb bones, is rather diagnostic.However, the early fossil record is poor because the first Passeriformes were apparently on the small side of the present size range, and their delicate bones did not preserve well. Queensland Museum specimens F20688 (carpometacarpus) and F24685 (tibiotarsus) from Murgon, Queensland, are fossil bone fragments initially assigned to Passeriformes. However, the material is too fragmentary and their affinities have been questioned. Several more recent fossils from the Oligocene of Europe, such as Wieslochia , Jamna , Resoviaornis and Crosnoornis , are more complete and definitely represent early passeriforms, although their exact position in the evolutionary tree is not known.
From the Bathans Formation at the Manuherikia River in Otago, New Zealand, MNZ S42815 (a distal right tarsometatarsus of a tui-sized bird) and several bones of at least one species of saddleback-sized bird have recently been described. These date from the Early to Middle Miocene (Awamoan to Lillburnian, 19–16 mya).
In Europe, perching birds are not too uncommon in the fossil record from the Oligocene onward, but most are too fragmentary for a more definite placement:
That suboscines expanded much beyond their region of origin is proven by several fossil from Germany such as a broadbill (Eurylaimidae) humerus fragment from the Early Miocene (roughly 20 mya) of Wintershof, Germany, the Late Oligocene carpometacarpus from France listed above, and Wieslochia , among others. Extant Passeri super-families were quite distinct by that time and are known since about 12–13 mya when modern genera were present in the corvoidean and basal songbirds. The modern diversity of Passerida genera is known mostly from the Late Miocene onwards and into the Pliocene (about 10–2 mya). Pleistocene and early Holocene lagerstätten (<1.8 mya) yield numerous extant species, and many yield almost nothing but extant species or their chronospecies and paleosubspecies.
In the Americas, the fossil record is more scant before the Pleistocene, from which several still-existing suboscine families are documented. Apart from the indeterminable MACN-SC-1411 (Pinturas Early/Middle Miocene of Santa Cruz Province, Argentina),an extinct lineage of perching birds has been described from the Late Miocene of California, United States: the Palaeoscinidae with the single genus Palaeoscinis . "Palaeostruthus" eurius (Pliocene of Florida) probably belongs to an extant family, most likely passeroidean.
|Phylogenetic relationship of the suborders within the Passeriformes. The numbers are from the list published by the International Ornithologists' Union in January 2020.|
The Passeriformes is currently divided into three suborders: Acanthisitti (New Zealand wrens), Tyranni (suboscines) and Passeri (oscines). The Passeri has been traditionally subdivided into two major groups recognized now as Corvida and Passerida respectively containing the large superfamilies Corvoidea and Meliphagoidea, as well as minor lineages, and the superfamilies Sylvioidea, Muscicapoidea, and Passeroidea but this arrangement has been found to be oversimplified. Since the mid-2000s, literally, dozens of studies have investigated the phylogeny of the Passeriformes and found that many families from Australasia traditionally included in the Corvoidea actually represent more basal lineages within oscines. Likewise, the traditional three-superfamily arrangement within the Passeri has turned out to be far more complex and will require changes in classification.
Major "wastebin" families such as the Old World warblers and Old World babblers have turned out to be paraphyletic and are being rearranged. Several taxa turned out to represent highly distinct lineages, so new families had to be established, some of them – like the stitchbird of New Zealand and the Eurasian bearded reedling – monotypic with only one living species.In the Passeri alone, a number of minor lineages will eventually be recognized as distinct superfamilies. For example, the kinglets constitute a single genus with less than 10 species today but seem to have been among the first perching bird lineages to diverge as the group spread across Eurasia. No particularly close relatives of them have been found among comprehensive studies of the living Passeri, though they might be fairly close to some little-studied tropical Asian groups. Nuthatches, wrens, and their closest relatives as currently grouped in a distinct super-family Certhioidea.
This list is in taxonomic order, placing related families next to one another. The families listed are those recognised by the International Ornithologists' Union (IOC).The order and the division into infraorders, parvorders and superfamilies follows the phylogenetic analysis published by Carl Oliveros and colleagues in 2019. The relationships between the families in the suborder Tyranni (suboscines) were all well determined but some of the nodes in Passeri (oscines) were unclear owing to the rapid splitting of the lineages.
Living Passeriformes based on the "Taxonomy in Flux family phylogenetic tree" by John Boyd.
A songbird is a bird belonging to the clade Passeri of the perching birds (Passeriformes). Another name that is sometimes seen as the scientific or vernacular name is Oscines, from Latin oscen, "a songbird". The group contains 5000 or so species found all over the world, in which the vocal organ typically is developed in such a way as to produce a diverse and elaborate bird song.
Larks are passerine birds of the family Alaudidae. Larks have a Cosmopolitan distribution with the largest number of species occurring in Africa. Only a single species, the horned lark, occurs in North America, and only Horsfield's bush lark occurs in Australia. Habitats vary widely, but many species live in dry regions. When the word "lark" is used without specification, it often refers to the Eurasian skylark (Alauda arvensis).
Old World warblers are a large group of birds formerly grouped together in the bird family Sylviidae. The family held over 400 species in over 70 genera, and were the source of much taxonomic confusion. Two families were split out initially, the cisticolas into Cisticolidae and the kinglets into Regulidae. In the past ten years they have been the subject of much research and many species are now placed into other families, including the Acrocephalidae, Cettiidae, Phylloscopidae, and Megaluridae. In addition some species have been moved into existing families or have not yet had their placement fully resolved. A smaller family of warblers, together with some babblers formerly placed in the family Timaliidae and the parrotbills, are retained in a much smaller family Sylviidae.
The New Zealand wrens are a family (Acanthisittidae) of tiny passerines endemic to New Zealand. They were represented by six known species in four or five genera, although only two species survive in two genera today. They are understood to form a distinct lineage within the passerines, but authorities differ on their assignment to the oscines or suboscines. More recent studies suggest that they form a third, most ancient, suborder Acanthisitti and have no living close relatives at all. They are called "wrens" due to similarities in appearance and behaviour to the true wrens (Troglodytidae), but are not members of that family.
The typical warblers are small birds belonging to the genus Sylvia in the "Old World warbler" family Sylviidae.
The Old World babblers or Timaliidae are a family of mostly Old World passerine birds. They are rather diverse in size and coloration, but are characterised by soft fluffy plumage. These are birds of tropical areas, with the greatest variety in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The timaliids are one of two unrelated groups of birds known as babblers, the other being the Australasian babblers of the family Pomatostomidae.
The Tyranni (suboscines) are a clade of passerine birds that includes more than 1,000 species, the large majority of which are South American. It is named after the type genus Tyrannus.
Meliphagoidea is a superfamily of passerine birds. They contain a vast diversity of small to mid-sized songbirds widespread in the Austropacific region. The Australian Continent has the largest richness in genera and species.
The nine-primaried oscines is a group of bird families in the suborder Passeri (oscines) of the Passeriformes. The composition of the group has changed since the term was first introduced but is now considered to consist of seven major families: Fringillidae, Emberizidae, Cardinalidae, Thraupidae, Passerellidae, Parulidae and Icteridae. When Fringillidae is omitted the remaining six families are referred to as the "New World" nine-primaried oscines.
Passerida is, under the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy, one of two parvorders contained within the suborder Passeri. While more recent research suggests that its sister parvorder, Corvida, is not a monophyletic grouping, the Passerida as a distinct clade are widely accepted.
The lesser melampitta is a medium-sized enigmatic terrestrial songbird of mountain forests of New Guinea. It is the only species in the genus Melampitta. It is now classified in the family Melampittidae, but in some other sources it is variously considered close to or in the Orthonychidae (logrunners), Paradisaeidae, Corcoracidae, Cnemophilidae (satinbirds) or Monarchidae.
Stenostiridae, or the fairy flycatchers, are a family of small passerine birds proposed as a result of recent discoveries in molecular systematics. They are also referred to as stenostirid warblers.
The Tetrakas and allies or Madagascan warblers are a newly validated family of songbirds. They were formally named Bernieridae in 2010. The family currently consists of eleven species of small forest birds. These birds are all endemic to Madagascar.
Locustellidae is a newly recognized family of small insectivorous songbirds ("warblers"), formerly placed in the Old World warbler "wastebin" family. It contains the grass warblers, grassbirds, and the Bradypterus "bush warblers". These birds occur mainly in Eurasia, Africa, and the Australian region. The family name is sometimes given as Megaluridae, but Locustellidae has priority.
The pink robin is a small passerine bird native to southeastern Australia. Its natural habitats are cool temperate forests of far southeastern Australia. Like many brightly coloured robins of the family Petroicidae, it is sexually dimorphic. Measuring 13.5 cm (5.3 in) in length, the robin has a small, thin, black bill, and dark brown eyes and legs. The male has a distinctive white forehead spot and pink breast, with grey-black upperparts, wings and tail. The belly is white. The female has grey-brown plumage. The position of the pink robin and its Australian relatives on the passerine family tree is unclear; the Petroicidae are not closely related to either the European or American robins, but appear to be an early offshoot of the Passerida group of songbirds.
Sylvioidea is a superfamily of passerine birds, one of at least three major clades within the Passerida along with the Muscicapoidea and Passeroidea. It contains about 1300 species including the Old World warblers, Old World babblers, swallows, larks and bulbuls. Members of the clade are found worldwide, but fewer species are present in the Americas.
Modulatricidae is a small family of passerine birds which are restricted to Africa.
Cinclosomatidae is a family of passerine birds native to Australia and New Guinea. It has a complicated taxonomic history and different authors vary in which birds they include in the family. It includes the quail-thrushes and jewel-babblers.
Eupasserines are passerines in the clade Eupasseres. The clade contains all passerines except the New Zealand wrens (Acanthisitti), to which they are sister.
|The Wikibook Dichotomous Key has a page on the topic of: Passeriformes|