The Vertebrates Pelecaniformes,
Charadriiformes, & Allies

Charadriomorpha: Pelecaniformes, Charadriiformes, & Allies

Abbreviated Dendrogram
Galloanserae │ └─Charadriomorphae ├─┬─Phoenicopteriformes │ └─Ciconiimorphae │ ├─Ciconiiformes │ │ ├─Vulturides │ │ └─┬─Plataleidae │ │ └─Ciconiidae │ └─┬─Pelecaniformes │ └─┬─Procellariiformes │ └─┬─Gaviiformes │ └─Sphenisciformes └─┬─Charadriiformes └─┬─Columbiformes └─Psittaciformes

Phoenicopteriformes and Basal Ciconiimorphae
Pelecaniformes, Charadriiformes & Allies

Taxa on This Page

  1. Charadriiformes
  2. Columbiformes
  3. Gaviiformes
  4. Pelecaniformes
  5. Procellariiformes
  6. Psittaciformes
  7. Sphensciformes


Pelecanus occidentalisPelecaniformes: pelicans, frigate birds, tropic birds.

fr mEc (Late Cretaceous?).

Ciconiimorphae:: (Procellariiformes + (Gaviiformes + Sphensciformes)) + *.

Large (0.4-2.0 m), fish-eating shore or sea birds. Long bill; pseudo-teeth in several extinct forms; several forms with intramandibular joint and other gnathal kinesis adaptations for large prey; frequently aberrant nares, including reduced or absent nares and very long, slit-like nares; large salt gland within orbit; gular pouches common, used in hunting and in cooling behaviors; legs moderate to short; totipalmate feet, with hallux (I) partially turned and webbed to II; bones extensively pneumatized, and connected with respiratory system; subdermal air sacs also known in some cushions ariel diving?); swimming, skimming and ariel diving hunters, some foot-propelled divers; cooperative hunting (driving) of fish; migrations uncommon; breeding always in isolated areas and very sensitive to mammalian predation; multi-year pairing and nesting common; altricial, naked young with sometimes very extended parental care by both parents.

Links: Eggs; Animal Diversity Web: Pelecaniformes; GeoZoo: Pelecaniformes; Pelecaniformes; Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter; Pelecaniformes Links; Birds Of The World; Photo Index to Bert's Birds. Pelecanus image by Dr. Dan Sudia, courtesy of University of Georgia Museum of Natural History. 000421.

Horned puffinsProcellariiformes (= Turbinares; fequently spelled "Procellariformes"): albatrosses, puffins, petrels.

fr lwEc.

Ciconiimorphae::: (Gaviiformes + Sphenisciformes) + *.

Tube-nosed sea birds. Bills short to medium, with distinctive hooked terminal nail; tubular nostrils; wings typically long, with very high aspect ratio except in smaller, diving forms; larger forms frequently require wind, altitude or long runway to take off; legs shifted posteriorly; poor walkers & may use wings as props; usually only on land for breeding; feet webbed, with hallux reduced or absent; plumage never bright; stomach oils from enlarged and folded proventriculus, rich in vitamins A & D; oil used in feeding young, as feather waterproofing, or as defense; prey on pelagic crustaceans and squid; many species nocturnal; colonial breeding in isolated locations; very low reproductive rate with high investment in rearing young; altricial young with slow maturation; very long lived. Possibly polyphyletic group, ancestral to Sphenisciformes.

Links: bird001z; Procellariiformes; Animal Diversity Web: Procellariiformes; Procellariiformes; Lycos Procellariidae; procellariiformes; Dierentuin.Net Dieren Database Stormvogels en verwanten; Where the albatross wanders. Image of Fulmaris glacialis (northern fulmar) courtesy of Canadian Museum of Natural History, (public domain per terms of the Canadian Digital Collections Program) 000425.

Loons from NaumannGaviiformes: Colymboides, loons.

fr upEc (Late Cretaceous?).

Ciconiimorphae:::: Sphenisciformes + *.

Large (60-100 cm) Arctic foot-propelled divers. Strong, tapered bill; small, pointed wings; legs placed far posterior and upper leg merges with body (convergent on hesperornithiforms and gruiformes); 3 webbed toes; bones not pneumatic; coloration mainly blacks, greys and whites; dive up to 60m; fast flyers; feed on fish and other medium-sized aquatic animals; solitary except during migration (if any); nest on vegetation adjacent to water; precocial young.

Links: eggs; BIRDNET: Gaviiformes; Birds throughout time; Animal Diversity Web: Order Gaviiformes; GeoZoo: Loons; GeoZoo: Loons at a Glance & Loon Links! (collectively, these two sites are the Best on the Web); Aves: Gaviiformes (Seetaucher) (in German); Gaviiformes through Ciconiiformes; Gaviidae.

Note: one of the few areas of almost unanimous agreement in recent years has been the close relationship between loons, pelecaniforms and penguins. Image: The image appears to be from a 1905 German text, presumably copyright expired. Note some of the remarkable convergences on hesperornithiforms. 000427.

King penguinSphenisciformes: Paleospheniscus, Aptenodytes, other penguins.

from the Late Eocene

Ciconiimorphae:::: Gaviiformes + *.

Underwater flyers from the Southern Hemisphere, 35 cm & 1kg to 120 cm and 40 kg. Nostrils slit-like, but tubular in some young; salt glands; legs far back on body; closely fused tarsal elements; plantigrade; elaborate temperature control mechanisms in feet; bones not pneumatic; no apteria; feathers have long aftershaft of down and tips for oily, waterproof coating; may make 200+ dives per day, larger species to 16 min and 500 m depth; feed on krill (compete with whales) and fish; some are nocturnal; attacked by seals; frequently return to same mate and site; mating cycle once or less per year; usually lay 1-3 eggs; biparental care (alternate); high mortality among eggs; raised in crèche, but individually fed; young independent in 2-12 months.

Links: WebRing: Navigation (a penguin web ring); Sphenisciformes; geobop Sphenisciformes; Familia Spheniscidae (in Spanish); Lycos Directory: Spheniscidae; Penguins; Penguins!; Animal Diversity Web: Advanced Search. Animal Diversity Web: Order Sphenisciformes; Sphenisciformes; Sphenisciformes; <br><b> Order Sphenisciformes- Penguins; Sphenisciformes | Animals | Chaffee Zoological Gardens of Fresno; Black-footed Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) CLASS- Aves ORDER- ...; Sphenisciformes (Encyclopedia Penguinnica) Japanese); Galapagos Penguin; Ord. Sphenisciformes Flossentaucher, Pinguine [ Aves ] © Gerald ...; Spheniscidae Spanish -- excellent). ATW030217.

Charadriiformes: Burhinis, gulls, auks, etc.. 

fr lwEc (upPc?).

Charadriomorphae:: Columbiformes + Psittaciformes) + *: 

Characters: Possibly more closely related to Gruiformes than indicated here. Nostrils bony and schizorhinal; bill rhynchokinetic, but by several different mechanisms.

Links: kingdom; Numenius arquatus - Grosser Brachvogel; Animal Diversity Web: Order Charadriiformes; Charadriiformes Links; Charadriiformes [80]; shorebrd.html Best on the Web); Lycos Directory: Charadriiformes; Dogpile: Search Results {charadriiformes} -p.3; Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States; International Shorebird Gallery - Index; Orden Charadriiforme. 000506.

Columbiformes: doves, pigeons (e.g. Columba), Raphus (dodo), sand grouse.

fr upEc.

Charadriomorphae::: Psittaciformes + *.

Fairly unspecialized land birds. Small head; bill short and may be overhung by fleshy operculum; palatines do not meet at the midline; vomer vestigial or absent; schizorhinal; 14-15 cervical vertebrae; large pectoral muscles; sternum with large lateral incisions; U-shaped furculum with weak hypocleideum; wings medium to short; 11 primaries; body compact; legs short; grain, seed and fruit eaters, with many ground-feeding forms; crop used for food storage; $ able to drink continuously (rather than tipping head between sips) with esophogeal contractions; fairly high rate of reproduction compared to sea birds, with high juvenile mortality from starvation; $ secretion from crop wall for young convergent on mammalian milk.

Links: Animal Diversity Web: Order Columbiformes; World Birds Taxonomic List: Genera and species with citations.; GeoZoo: order Columbiformes); BIRDNET: Columbiformes species list; Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter; Aves: Columbiformes (German).

Image: appears to be from a 1905 German text, presumably copyright expired. 000509.

Blue and gold macawPsittaciformes: parrots and allies.

Fr lwEc.

Charadriomorphae::: Columbiformes + *.

Noisy, bright-colored tropical birds, 8 to 100 cm, with strong, hooked beaks. Thick, hooked bill, usually with cutting surface on lower bill; highly rhynchokinetic upper jaw; short, flesh tongue highly mobile; cere (area of soft bare or sparsely-feathered skin) surrounding nostrils, frequently colored; short, thick neck; compact body; carina prominent; furcula highly variable; wings often pointed; feet sturdy; zygodactyl toes; entire foot with thick, lightly scaled skin; frequently able climbers and dexterous with feet; some flightless insular species; strongly monogamous; nest largely in holes in trees; usually gregarious; long history of semi-domestication; generally long-lived and intelligent.

Links: skulls unlimited psittaciformes; Bibliography of Psittacine Birds; BIRDNET Psitaciformes; World Birds Taxonomic List: Genera and species with citations.; feral parrots; Birds - Everything About Parrots and Hookbills; Dierentuin.Net Dieren Database Papegaaien (in Dutch); Animal Diversity Web: Order Psittaciformes; Quakerslave's Parrot Information Site; Psittaciformes- the parrots; The Alex Foundation; Psittaciformes - Beiträge zur Papageienkunde; Arbeitsgemeinschaft Papageien-Netzwerk; SENCKENBERG Exponat Januar 1998; Arbeitsgemeinschaft Papageiennetzwerk - Raritäten im Naturhistorischen Museum in Basel

Image: macaw posted as clip art. ATW011223

checked ATW030721