The Vertebrates Gruimorpha


Abbreviated Dendrogram
Aves │ └─Gruimorpha ├─┬─Gruiformes │ └─Podicipediformes └─┬─┬─Strigiformes │ └─┬─┬─Caprimulgiformes │ │ └─Coliiformes │ └─Apodiformes └─┬─Musophagidae └─┬─┬─Falconiformes │ └─Cuculiformes │ ├─Cuculidae │ └─Neomorphidae └─┬─Piciformes │ └─Passeriformes 

Falconiformes & Allies

Taxa on This Page

  1. Apodiformes
  2. Caprimulgiformes
  3. Coliiformes
  4. Gruiformes
  5. Gruimorpha
  6. Musophagidae
  7. Podicipediformes
  8. Strigiformes



Range: from the Paleocene.

Neornithes:: Dromornithiformes + Galloanserae + * : (Gruiformes + Podicepediformes) + (Falconiformes). ATW030108.


Porphyrula martinica by Dr. Dan Sudia and reproduced under standard terms.

Gruiformes: cranes & rails.

fr Pc (upK?).

Gruimorpha :: Podicipediformes + *.

Very diverse, possibly paraphyletic group near the base of the second great Neornithine radiation. Bill long and thin; 2 carotid arteries; crop absent; wings usually rounded and long; legs long; hallux absent or elevated; aquatic forms have lobate, not webbed, feet; sexual dimorphism infrequent; elaborate "dancing" behaviors, generally related to pair-bonding (monogamy is typical); territorial defense and courtship are largely vocal; very wide ecological and trophic range; migration uncommon.

Links: Untitled; International Crane Foundation; World Birds Taxonomic List: Genera and species with citations.; Animal Diversity Web: Order Gruiformes; Gruiformes Links; Gruiformes; Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter. 000516.

Podilymbus podiceps. Image by Dr. Dan Sudia and reproduced under standard terms.

Podicipediformes: grebes. 

from the Late Miocene.

Gruimorpha :: Gruiformes + *.

Moderate-sized, foot-propelled lobe-toed divers. 1 carotid; poorly developed carinae and so weak flyers, or nearly flightless; wings short with thin bones; 12 primaries, 7 attached to metacarpus; 5th secondary absent; extremely fast, agile divers, with legs set well back on body and encased in body wall to the ankle; patella-like process on knee, together with strong (cnemial?) process of tibia; reduced tail feathers; oil gland with two openings; caecae present, but reduced; normally inhabit still water areas; monogamous, with elaborate pair-bonding behaviors; floating nests.

Links: Untitled; edmonton eggs; Marshbirds and Shorebirds of North Dakota; pied-billed-grebe; Animal Diversity Web: Order Podicipediformes; Podicipediformes Links; Pied-billed Grebe. ATW030615.

Strigiformes: owls (Bubo, Otus), barn owls (Tyto).

fr Pc.

Gruimorpha ::: (Apodiformes + (Caprimugiformes + Coliiformes)) + *.

Moderate-sized (0.1-1.0 m) nocturnal (or crepescular) hunters. Large head; large, forward-facing eyes; eyes encased in bone tube & almost immovable; facial disk around eyes; enhanced night vision, but may be color blind; pupils dilate independently; enhanced hearing with moveable operculum to focus sound; other enhancements poorly understood (e.g. asymmetrical ears); hooked beak; highly mobile neck with 360 degrees rotation; short tail; long, rounded wings; nap on feathers makes flight soundless; large, strong feet with sharp talons; pes IV reversible; exclusively carnivorous, largely insects and rodents; rarely extensive flight or walking; very wide variety of habitats; vocal, with wide variety of sounds; generally not nest builders, but use natural cavities or abandoned nests.

Links: The Owl Pages; Animal Diversity Web: Strigiformes; World Birds Taxonomic List: Genera and species with citations.; Strigiformes Links; Biologybase: Birds: Owls of the World; World Owl Trust - Home Page; Strigiformes; My Owls of the World; - Photos, calls and info on N & C Amer Owls; Information on Owls; Jennifer's Owl Page; Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter; GeoZoo: Owls! (order Strigiformes); Google Directory > Strigiformes; Aves/STRIGIFORMES/strigiformes.html">Aves: Strigiformes - Eulenl (German).

Selasphorus rufus Apodiformes: Hummingbirds, swifts.

fr upEc.

Gruimorpha :::: (Caprimulgiformes + Coliiformes) + *.

Chatacters: External nostrils absent; usually 1 carotid; humerus short; strongly adapted for flight; flight is only significant means of locomotion, & some forms cannot perch; sternal notches absent; feet pamprodactyl; primaries much larger than secondaries; most insectivorous to some degree (especially swifts); nests small & simple; eggs and/or nest glued with adhesive saliva; young naked and essentially ectothermic; torpor & lowered body temperature common; many species highly migratory.

Links: The Sights and Sounds of Costa Rica, Sounds List; Operation RubyThroat--Hummingbird Home Page;; Untitled; World Birds Taxonomic List: Genera and species with citations.; Colibri à gorge rubis; Animal Diversity Web: Order Apodiformes; BIRDNET: Apodiformes species list; Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter; Apodiformes Links; Page Title.

Image: © Dan Sudia, reproduced by permission.

Caprimulgiformes: nightjars, night hawks, potoos, oilbirds, etc.

fr mEc.

Gruimorpha ::::: Coliiformes + *.

Large mouth with very large gape; large eyes; bill usually not raptorial; wings medium to long; legs short, especially tarsometatarsus; feet small (except oilbirds); claws usually not raptorial; soft plumage, cryptic coloration; males frequently with elongated tail or wing feathers as display; crepescular; some have echolocation; typically feed on insects or fruit (oilbirds); young very slow to develop; vocal, with distinctive non-musical songs and mechanical noises; no characteristic mating, migration or nesting pattern; torpor and even hibernation known in some forms.

Links: Dierentuin.Net Dieren Database Nachtzwaluwen en verwanten (Caprimulgiformes); Untitled; Animal Diversity Web: Order Caprimulgiformes; Caprimulgiformes Links; Tawny Frogmouth.

Image: tawny frogmouth, courtesy Honolulu Zoo.

Urocollius indicus Coliiformes: mouse birds.

fr upEc.

Gruimorpha ::::: Caprimulgiformes + *.

head crests; feather tracts absent; pamprodactyl foot; nondescript color; "fluffy" plumage; very long tail; mainly frugiverous; short legs; adept at climbing and hanging vertically or even upside down; gregarious.

Links: World Birds Taxonomic List: Genera and species with citations.

Image: Urocollius indicus, courtesy Naturalia Zoo.


Gruimorpha ::: ((Piciformes + Passeriformes) + (Falconiformes + Cuculiformes)) + *. 000902.

checked ATW050730