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Shorebirds and relatives

John Harshman and Joseph W. Brown
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taxon links [up-->]Burhinidae [up-->]Chionididae [up-->]Pedionomidae [up-->]Pluvianellus socialis [up-->]Rostratulidae [up-->]Pluvianus aegyptius [up-->]Glareolidae [up-->]Haematopodidae [up-->]Thinocoridae [up-->]Recurvirostridae [up-->]Dromadidae [up-->]Ibidorhynchidae [up-->]Charadriidae [up-->]Laridae [up-->]Jacanidae [up-->]Alcidae [up-->]Turnicidae [up-->]Pluvialis [up-->]Scolopacidae [up-->]Stercorariidae [down<--]Neoaves Interpreting the tree
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This tree diagram shows the relationships between several groups of organisms.

The root of the current tree connects the organisms featured in this tree to their containing group and the rest of the Tree of Life. The basal branching point in the tree represents the ancestor of the other groups in the tree. This ancestor diversified over time into several descendent subgroups, which are represented as internal nodes and terminal taxa to the right.

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You can click on the root to travel down the Tree of Life all the way to the root of all Life, and you can click on the names of descendent subgroups to travel up the Tree of Life all the way to individual species.

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Relationships after Baker et al. 2007, Crochet et al 2000, Ericson et al. 2003, Fain and Houde 2004, Harshman 1994, Paton et al. 2003, Sibley and Ahlquist 1990, and Thomas et al. 2004.
Containing group: Neoaves

Other Names for Charadriiformes


Baker, A. J., S. L. Pereira, and T. A. Paton. 2007. Phylogenetic relationships and divergence times of Charadriiformes genera: Multigene evidence for he Cretaceous origin of at least 14 clades of shorebirds. Biology Letters 3:205-209.

Chu, P.C. 1995. Phylogenetic reanalysis of Strauch's osteological data set for the Charadriiformes. Condor 97:174-196.

Crochet, P.-A., F. Bonhomme, and J. D. Lebreton. 2000. Molecular phylogeny and plumage evolution in gulls (Larini). J. Evol. Biol. 13:47-57.

Ericson, P. G. P., I. Envall, M. Irestedt, and J. A. Norman. 2003. Inter-familial relationships of the shorebirds (Aves : Charadriiformes) based on nuclear DNA sequence data. BMC Evol. Biol. 3:16.

Fain, M. G., and P. Houde. 2004. Parallel radiations in the primary clades of birds. Evolution 58:2558-2573.

Harshman, J. 1994. Reweaving the Tapestry: What can we learn from Sibley and Ahlquist (1990)? Auk 111:377-388.

Hayman, P., J. Marchant, and T. Prater. 1986. Shorebirds: an identification guide to the waders of the world. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

Paton, T. A., A. J. Baker, J. G. Groth, and G. F. Barrowclough. 2003. RAG-1 sequences resolve phylogenetic relationships within Charadriiform birds Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 29:268-278.

Rosair, D. 1995. Photographic Guide to the Shorebirds of the World. New York: Facts on File.

Sibley, C. G., and J. A. Ahlquist. 1990. Phylogeny and classification of birds, Yale U. Press, New Haven.

Soothill, E. and R. Soothill. 1989. Wading Birds of the World. 2nd ed. London: Blandford.

Thomas, G. H., M. A. Wills, and T. Szekely. 2004. A supertree approach to shorebird phylogeny. BMC Evol. Biol. 4:28.

Thomas, G. H., M. A. Wills, and T. Szekely. 2004. Phylogeny of shorebirds, gulls, and alcids (Aves: Charadrii) from the cytochrome-b gene: Parsimony, Bayesian inference, minumum evolution, and quartet puzzling. Mol. Phylogen. Evol. 30, 516-526.

van Tuinen, M., D. B. Butvill, J. A. W. Kirsch, and S. B. Hedges. 2001. Convergence and divergence in the evolution of aquatic birds. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. 268B:1-6.

van Tuinen, M., D. Waterhouse, and G. J. Dyke. 2004. Avian molecular systematics on the rebound: a fresh look at modern shorebird phylogenetic relationships. J. Avian Biol. 35:191-194.

Whittingham, L. A., F. H. Sheldon, and S. T. Emlen. 2000. Molecular phylogeny of jacanas and its implications for morphologic and biogeographic evolution. The Auk 117:2232.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Numenius americanus
Creator Gary Kramer
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source WO4014 Long-billed Curlew
Source Collection U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Online Digital Media Library
Scientific Name Larus novaehollandiae
Location Hunter River, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Gull
Source Collection Flickr
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 2.0.
Copyright © 2007 Marj Kibby
Scientific Name Himantopus himantopus
Location Marievale, Springs, Gauteng, South Africa
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Dripping
Source Collection Flickr
Copyright © 2008 Callie de Wet
About This Page

Joseph W. Brown
University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to John Harshman at and Joseph W. Brown at

Page: Tree of Life Charadriiformes. Shorebirds and relatives. Authored by John Harshman and Joseph W. Brown. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Harshman, John and Joseph W. Brown. 2008. Charadriiformes. Shorebirds and relatives. Version 24 June 2008 (temporary). http://tolweb.org/Charadriiformes/26342/2008.06.24 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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This page is a Tree of Life Branch Page.

Each ToL branch page provides a synopsis of the characteristics of a group of organisms representing a branch of the Tree of Life. The major distinction between a branch and a leaf of the Tree of Life is that each branch can be further subdivided into descendent branches, that is, subgroups representing distinct genetic lineages.

For a more detailed explanation of the different ToL page types, have a look at the Structure of the Tree of Life page.

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