Birds of the World

Non-passerine Bird Families

The major advances in molecular systematics in the last 20 years has caused significant changes in the taxonomic classification of birds. The order used below for the non-passerine birds follows that proposed in HBW & Birdlife International's Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World vol.1 (del Hoyo & Collar, 2014).

Apart from a restructuring of the order of the families, other major changes in the new taxonomy of the non-passerines compared to that in the print version of HBW (volumes 1-7) include the lumping and spliting of several families. For example, in the new classification, gulls, terns and skimmers are all classed under the family heading of Laridae and grouse, partridges, pheasants and turkeys have been combined to create a larger Phasianidae family. Splitting events at the family level don't affect quite so many species in the new taxonomy with most new families being either monotypic or containing just a handful of species (eg. Magpie Goose, long considered to be an evolutionary bridge between the Screamers and ducks, has now been split from the Anatidae to form its own monotypic family).