Bird Families of the World (Traditional)

This page lists all 28 of the bird Orders found in the world, and 82 Families within the large Order Passeriformes, together with an indication of the number of species occurring in each, and the number of species which have occurred in Britain. There is some disgreement between authorities over the total number of species, and their placement into different Families and Orders (and the order in which they evolved and so are presented in a list). For example:

Morony et al. (1975) 8,982 species in 158 Families
Monroe & Sibley (1993) 9,702 145
Clements (2000) 9,716 204
Dickinson (2003) 9,721 195
Perrins (2003) 9,845 172

The following table gives the number of species occurring in each order (or family within the large Passeriformes order) and the number recorded in Britain. For those families that have representatives in Britain (either regularly or as wanderers) click on the link to see more details. Note for non-passerine orders that only families that have occurred in Britain are listed. The more traditional arrangement here comes from Perrins (2003) and is largely based on morphological characteristics.

For a up-to-date arrangement based largely on DNA evidence, click here and see this page for some insight into why the position of species changes. The Taxonomy in Flux website also provides much useful information.

Order

Families

Species

in Britain

Superorder Palaeognathae
Struthioniformes 1 1 0 Ostrich
Rheiformes 1 2 0 Rheas
Casuariiformes 2 4 0 Emu and Cassowaries
Apterygiformes 1 3 0 Kiwis
Tinamiformes 1 46 0 Tinamous
Superorder Neognathae
Sphenisciformes 1 17 0 Penguins
Gaviiformes 1 5 5 Divers
Gaviidae (Divers)
Podicipediformes 1 22 6 Grebes
Podicepedidae (Grebes)
Procellariformes 4 125 18 Albatrosses and Petrels
Diomedeidae (Albatrosses)
Procellaridae (Shearwaters)
Hydrobatidae (Storm-petrels)
Pelecaniformes 6 65 7 Pelicans and relatives
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
Sulidae (Gannets)
Phaethontidae (Tropicbirds)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants)
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
Ciconiiformes 6 117 18 Herons, Storks and relatives
Ardeidae (Herons)
Ciconiiidae (Storks)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises)
Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)
Anseriformes 2 165 58 Waterfowl
Anatidae (Swans, Geese and Ducks)
Accipitriformes 5 300 27 Vultures, Hawks and Falcons
Pandionidae (Osprey)
Falconidae (Falcons)
Accipitridae (Hawks and Eagles)
Galliformes 6 285 10 Gamebirds
Phasianidae (Pheasants & Partridges)
Tetraonidae (Grouse)
Gruiformes 11 203 16 Cranes, Rails and relatives
Gruidae (Cranes)
Rallidae (Rails, Crakes and Gallinules)
Otidae (Bustards)
Charadriiformes 18 342 135 Shorebirds
Charadriidae (Plovers)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and relatives)
Phalaropidae (Phalaropes)
Recurvirostridae (Avocets and Stilts)
Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)
Stercorariidae (Skuas)
Laridae (Gulls)
Sternidae (Terns)
Alcidae (Auks)
Pteroclidiformes 1 16 1 Sandgrouse
Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)
Columbiformes 1 309 7 Pigeons and Doves
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
Psittaciformes 1 356 1 Parrots
Psittacidae (Parrots)
Cuculiformes 3 164 4 Cuckoos and relatives
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
Strigiformes 2 205 9 Owls
Strigidae (Typical Owls)
Tytonidae (Barn and Grass Owls)
Caprimulgiformes 5 118 4 Nightjars and relatives
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars)
Apodiformes 3 424 7 Swifts and Hummingbirds
Apodidae (Swifts)
Trogoniformes 1 37 0 Trogons
Coliiformes 1 6 0 Mousebirds
Coraciiformes 9 206 6 Kingfishers and relatives
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
Coraciidae (Rollers)
Upupidae (Hoopoe)
Piciformes 6 403 5 Woodpeckers, Toucans and relatives
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
Passeriformes 82 5,899 247 Perching Birds (see below)
Suborder Tyranni
Xenicidae
2 0 New Zealand Wrens
Pittidae
32 0 Pittas
Philepittidae
4 0 Asities
Eurylaimidae
15 8 Broadbills
Tyrannidae
436 1 Tyrant Flycatchers
Cotingidae
94 0 Cotingas
Pipridae
50 0 Manakins
Furnariidae
217 0 Ovenbirds
Dendrocolaptidae
52 0 Woodcreepers
Thamnophilidae
204 0 Antbirds
Formicariidae
62 0 Ground Antbirds
Conopophagidae
8 0 Gnateaters
Rhinocryptidae
55 0 Tapaculos
Suborder Passeres
Climacteridae
7 0 Australasian Treecreepers
Menuridae
2 0 Lyrebirds
Atrichornithidae
2 0 Australian Scrub-birds
Ptilonorhynicdae
20 0 Bowerbirds
Maluridae
27 0 Fairy-wrens
Meliphagidae
182 0 Honeyeaters and Australian Chats
Acanthizidae
67 0 Australian Warblers
Eopsaltridae
44 0 Australasian Robins
Orthonychidae
16 0 Log-runners
Pomatostomidae
5 0 Australasian Babblers
Pachycephalidae
62 0 Whistlers
Vireonidae
52 3 Vireos
Corvidae
118 9 Crows
Paradisaeidae
42 0 Birds of Paradise
Artamidae
11 0 Wood Swallows
Grallinidae
2 0 Magpie-larks
Corcoracidae
2 0 Australian Mud-nesters
Cracticidae
14 0 Australian Butcher-birds
Callaeidae
3 0 New Zealand Wattlebirds
Oriolidae
28 1 Old World Orioles
Campephagidae
85 0 Cuckoo-shrikes
Rhipiduridae
42 0 Fantail Flycatchers
Dicruridae
24 0 Drongos
Monarchidae
98 0 Monarch Flycatchers
Irenidae
10 0 Leafbirds
Aegithinidae
4 0 Ioras
Laniidae
30 7 Shrikes
Prionopidae
8 0 Helmet-Shrikes
Malaconotidae
46 0 Bush-shrikes
Vangidae
41 0 Vanga Shrikes
Picathartidae
4 0 Rockfowl
Dulidae
1 0 Palmchat
Hypocoliidae
1 0 Grey Hypocolius
Bombycillidae
7 2 Waxwings
Cinclidae
5 1 Dippers
Turdidae
304 44 Thrushes & Chats
Muscicapidae
115 6 Old World Flycatchers
Sturnidae
114 2 Starlings and Mynas
Mimidae
36 3 Mockingbirds
Sittidae
25 2 Nuthatches
Certhiidae
6 2 Treecreepers
Rhabdornithidae
3 0 Phillipine Rhabdornises
Troglodytidae
83 1 Wrens
Poliotilinidae
14 0 Gnatcatchers
Remizidae
13 1 Penduline Tits
Paridae
53 6 Tits and Chickadees
Aegithalidae
7 1 Long-tailed Tits
Hirundidae
89 7 Swallows and Martins
Pyconotidae
140 0 Bulbuls
Zosteropidae
88 0 White-eyes
Sylviidae
389 50 Old World Warblers
Regulidae
6 2 Kinglets
Timaliidae
285 1 Babblers and Laughing-thrushes
Alaudidae
80 10 Larks
Dicaeidae
55 0 Flowerpeckers
Nectariniidae
132 0 Sunbirds and relatives
Passeridae
36 4 Sparrows
Ploceidae
118 0 Weavers
Motacillidae
67 15 Wagtails and Pipits
Prunellidae
13 2 Accentors
Estrildidae
156 0 Waxbills
Fringillidae
3 2 Chaffinches
Carduelidae
136 19 Finches
Drepanidae
22 0 Hawaiian Honeycreepers
Emberizidae
291 24 Buntings and New World Sparrows
Cardinalidae
43 2 Cardinal Grosbeaks
Parulidae
116 18 New World Warblers
Thraupidae
413 2 Tanagers
Icteridae
102 3 New World Blackbirds
TOTALS
172 9845 603