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Passerida is, under the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy, one of two parvorders contained within the suborder Passeri (standard taxonomic practice would place them at the rank of infraorder). While more recent research suggests that its sister parvorder, Corvida, is not a monophyletic grouping, the Passerida as a distinct clade are widely accepted.

Zonotrichia atricapilla 06634.JPG
The golden-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) belongs to the bunting family, not the true sparrows.
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Infraorder: Passerida

and see text


Systematics and phylogenyEdit

The Passerida quite certainly consist of the 3 major subclades outlined by Sibley & Ahlquist (1990). However, their content has been much revised. In addition, it has turned out that not all passeridan lineages neatly fit into this arrangement. The kinglets are so distinct that they might actually form a separate infraorder, as they are only slightly less basal than the Corvoidea or the Picathartidae. See Jønsson & Fjeldså (2006) for details on phylogeny.

Superfamily SylvioideaEdit

Mostly insectivores, distribution centered on the Indo-Pacific region. Few occur in the Americas.[1][2]

Superfamily MuscicapoideaEdit

Mostly insectivores, near-global distribution centered on Old World tropics. One family is endemic to the Americas.

  • Cinclidae: dippers
  • Muscicapidae: Old World flycatchers and chats. Monophyly needs confirmation.
  • Turdidae: thrushes and allies. Monophyly needs confirmation.
  • Buphagidae: oxpeckers. Formerly usually included in Sturnidae.
  • Sturnidae: starlings and possibly Philippine creepers. Placement of latter in Muscicapoidea seems good, but inclusion in Sturnidae requires confirmation; possibly distinct family Rhabdornithidae.
  • Mimidae: mockingbirds and thrashers

Superfamily PasseroideaEdit

Mostly herbivores, near-global distribution centered on Palearctic and Americas. Includes the nine-primaried oscines (probably a subclade).

Passerida incertae sedisEdit

Rather basal Passerida, most of which seem to constitute several small but distinct superfamilies. Most occur in Asia, Africa and North America.

  • Possible superfamily "Dicaeoidea" – sunbirds and flowerpeckers
  • Possible superfamily Bombycilloidea – waxwings and allies
  • Possible superfamily Paroidea – titmice and allies
    • Paridae: tits, chickadees and titmice
    • Remizidae: penduline tits. Sometimes included in Paridae.
    • Stenostiridae: stenostirids ("flycatcher-tits"). A newly assembled family; sometimes included in Paridae.
  • Possible superfamily Sittoidea or Certhioidea – wrens and allies.
  • Possible monotypic superfamily N.N.
  • Possible monotypic superfamily N.N.
    • Family N.N.: hyliotas. Recently split from Sylviidae.
  • Possible superfamily Reguloidea – kinglets. Tentatively placed here.

Probably not PasseridaEdit

These have been assigned to the Passerida in recent times, often based on DNA-DNA hybridization data. However, they are probably more basal among the songbirds and would belong either to the Corvoidea or the allied basal lineages. Most of them are either African or Wallacean groups.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Fregin, Silke; Haase, Martin; Olsson, Urban; Alström, Per (2012). "New insights into family relationships within the avian superfamily Sylvioidea (Passeriformes) based on seven molecular markers". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 12 (157): 1–12. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-12-157.
  2. ^ Alström, Per; Olsson, Urban; Lei, Fumin (2013). "A review of the recent advances in the systematics of the avian superfamily Sylvioidea" (PDF). Chinese Birds. 4 (2): 99–131. doi:10.5122/cbirds.2013.0016.
  3. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2018). "Family index". World Bird List Version 8.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 24 July 2018.