Proposal (491) to South American Classification Committee


Change linear sequence of orders for Falconiformes, Psittaciformes, and Cariamiformes


491A.  Falconiformes and Psittaciformes


Background: In the current SACC list and practically all previous publications, these two orders are listed separately and far from Passeriformes: Falconiformes before Gruiformes, and Psittaciformes after Columbiformes. However, there is now substantial phylogenetic evidence for the relationship between the two groups and Passeriformes (Ericson et al. 2006, Hackett et al. 2008). Hackett et al. pointed out: "One of the most unexpected findings was the sister relationship between Passeriformes and Psittaciformes (node A, Fig. 2), with Falconidae (falcons) sister to this clade. This relationship varied slightly among analyses and gene-jackknifing (Fig. 1), yet the close relationship between passerines with parrots and/or falcons appeared consistently."


Recommendation: I recommend altering the position of the Falconiformes and Psittaciformes and placing them side-by-side before the Passeriformes:






I vote YES to this proposal.


Literature Cited:


Ericson, P.G.P., Anderson, C.L., Britton, T., Elzanowski, A., Johansson, U.S., Källersjö, M., Ohlson, J.I., Parsons, T.J., Zuccon, D., and Mayr, G. 2006. Diversification of Neoaves: integration of molecular sequence data and fossils. Biol. Lett. 2 543-547.

Hackett, S.J, Kimball, R.T., Reddy, S., Bowie, R.C.K., Braun, E.L., Braun, M.J., Chojnowski, J.L., Cox, W.A., Han, K., Harshman, J., Huddleston, C.J., Marks, B.D., Miglia, K.J., Moore, W.S., Sheldon, F.H., Steadman, D.W., Witt, C.C., and Yuri, T. 2008. A phylogenomic study of birds reveals their evolutionary history. Science. 320 1760.



Manuel Nores, July 2011


Note added by Remsen, Sep. 11:  Additional support for Psittaciformes-Passeriformes relationship found by Suh et al. (2011).





491B.  Cariamiformes


When asked to comment on 491, Keith Barker sent Remsen the following:


If those rearrangements are to be made, then seriemas should be moved near these taxa as well.  Although the relationship isn't strongly supported in the Hackett et al. tree, it receives moderate support, and it is corroborated by Ericson et al. 2006 (Biol. Lett. 2:543), where it receives >=0.95 posterior probability (for whatever that's worth).


“I hear that more recent analyses increase support for a parrot/passerine relationship, and this seems to be supported by "whole genome" shotgun sequencing (Nabholz et al. 2011, MBE 28:2197) so these two taxa should definitely be the last two.  Based on current results, I would probably put Seriemas then falcons just before parrots and passerines.”


Because there is no support for our current position of the Cariamiformes (arbitrarily residing between Eurypigifomes and Charadriiformes as a holdover from its former position in Gruiformes), I think we should also move the Cariamiformes to precede Falconiformes as per above.  At least there is some support for that position (vs. plenty of support against its current position).


Van Remsen, July 2011




Comments from Pacheco:


“A .YES. Atendendo aos resultados alcançados por três filogenias independemente implementadas.

“B. YES. A nova posição do recém reconhecido Cariamiformes representa um avanço ao conhecimento.”


Comments from Jaramillo:

A . YES.  The data are strong and consistent for putting Falconiformes and Psittaciformes before Passeriformes.

“B. YES. Although not as strong and consistent as data for part A of this, the burden of proof is on those who want to continue considering the Cariamidae as part of the Gruiformes. Furthermore, once familiar with Cariamidae in life, they are very unlike anything in the Gruiformes; they really are the leftover of the terrorbirds!”


Comments from Zimmer: “YES and YES for reasons stated in both proposals.  The evidence supporting the first change seems strong, and I second Alvaro’s comments with regard to any relationship between the Cariamidae and the Gruiformes.”