Charadriiformes

Charadriiformes

Overview
Charadriiformes is a diverse order of small to medium-large bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s. It includes about 350 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 and has members in all parts of the world. Most Charadriiformes live near water and eat invertebrate
Invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

s or other small animals; however, some are pelagic (sea birds), some occupy deserts and a few are found in thick forest.

.
The order was formerly divided into three suborders:
  • The wader
    Wader
    Waders, called shorebirds in North America , are members of the order Charadriiformes, excluding the more marine web-footed seabird groups. The latter are the skuas , gulls , terns , skimmers , and auks...

    s
    (or "Charadrii"): typical shorebirds, most of which feed by probing in the mud or picking items off the surface in both coastal and freshwater environments.
  • The gull
    Gull
    Gulls are birds in the family Laridae. They are most closely related to the terns and only distantly related to auks, skimmers, and more distantly to the waders...

    s
    and their allies (or "Lari"): these are generally larger species which take fish from the sea.
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Encyclopedia
Charadriiformes is a diverse order of small to medium-large bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s. It includes about 350 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 and has members in all parts of the world. Most Charadriiformes live near water and eat invertebrate
Invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

s or other small animals; however, some are pelagic (sea birds), some occupy deserts and a few are found in thick forest.

Systematics


.
The order was formerly divided into three suborders:
  • The wader
    Wader
    Waders, called shorebirds in North America , are members of the order Charadriiformes, excluding the more marine web-footed seabird groups. The latter are the skuas , gulls , terns , skimmers , and auks...

    s
    (or "Charadrii"): typical shorebirds, most of which feed by probing in the mud or picking items off the surface in both coastal and freshwater environments.
  • The gull
    Gull
    Gulls are birds in the family Laridae. They are most closely related to the terns and only distantly related to auks, skimmers, and more distantly to the waders...

    s
    and their allies (or "Lari"): these are generally larger species which take fish from the sea. Several gulls and skua
    Skua
    The skuas are a group of seabirds with about seven species forming the family Stercorariidae and the genus Stercorarius. The three smaller skuas are called jaegers in North America....

    s will also take food items from beaches, or rob smaller species, and some have become adapted to inland environments.
  • The auk
    Auk
    An auk is a bird of the family Alcidae in the order Charadriiformes. Auks are superficially similar to penguins due to their black-and-white colours, their upright posture and some of their habits...

    s
    (or "Alcae") are coastal species which nest on sea cliffs and "fly" underwater to catch fish.


The Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy
Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy
The Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy is a bird taxonomy proposed by Charles Sibley and Jon Edward Ahlquist. It is based on DNA-DNA hybridization studies conducted in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s....

, which has been widely accepted in America, lumps all the Charadriiformes together with other seabird
Seabird
Seabirds are birds that have adapted to life within the marine environment. While seabirds vary greatly in lifestyle, behaviour and physiology, they often exhibit striking convergent evolution, as the same environmental problems and feeding niches have resulted in similar adaptations...

s and birds of prey
Bird of prey
Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....

 into a greatly enlarged order Ciconiiformes
Ciconiiformes
Traditionally, the order Ciconiiformes has included a variety of large, long-legged wading birds with large bills: storks, herons, egrets, ibises, spoonbills, and several others. Ciconiiformes are known from the Late Eocene...

. However, the resolution of the DNA-DNA hybridization technique used by Sibley & Ahlquist was not sufficient to properly resolve the relationships in this group, and indeed it appears as if the Charadriiformes consititute a single large and very distinctive lineage of modern birds of their own.

The auks, usually considered distinct because of their peculiar morphology, are more likely related to gulls, the "distinctness" being a result of adaptation for diving. Following recent research, a better arrangement may be as follows:

Families in taxonomic order


This is a list of the charadriiform families
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

, presented in taxonomic order
Taxonomic order
Taxonomic sequence is a sequence followed in listing of taxa which aids ease of use and roughly reflects the evolutionary relationships among the taxa...

.
  • Suborder Scolopaci: snipe-like waders
    • Family Scolopacidae
      Scolopacidae
      The sandpipers are a large family, Scolopacidae, of waders or shorebirds. They include many species called sandpipers, as well as those called by names such as curlew and snipe. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil...

      : snipe, sandpipers, phalaropes, and allies
  • Suborder Thinocori: aberrant charadriforms
    • Family Rostratulidae
      Painted snipe
      Painted snipes are three distinctive wader species in the family Rostratulidae. The family is composed to two genera, Rostratula and Nycticryphes. The Australian Painted Snipe is often treated as a subspecies of the Greater Painted Snipe, but morphological and genetic differences have resulted in...

      : painted snipe
    • Family Jacanidae
      Jacana
      The jaçanas are a group of tropical waders in the family Jacanidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone. See Etymology below for pronunciation....

      : jacanas
    • Family Thinocoridae
      Seedsnipe
      The seedsnipes are a small family, Thinocoridae, of small gregarious waders which have adapted to a herbivorous diet. The family is divided into two genera, Attagis and Thinocorus, each containing two species. The family has a South American distribution, in the Andean and Patagonian regions...

      : seedsnipe
    • Family Pedionomidae
      Plains Wanderer
      The Plains-wanderer or Plains Wanderer, is a bird, the only representative of its family. It is endemic to Australia. The majority of the remaining population are found in the Riverina region of New South Wales.-Description:...

      : Plains Wanderer
  • Suborder Lari
    Lari
    The suborder Lari is the part of the order Charadriiformes which includes the gulls, terns, skuas and skimmers, with the waders and snipes making up the rest of the order. Following recent research, the auks are now placed into the Lari too; the Glareolidae might constitute a distinct suborder...

    : gulls and allies
    • Family Laridae
      Gull
      Gulls are birds in the family Laridae. They are most closely related to the terns and only distantly related to auks, skimmers, and more distantly to the waders...

      : gulls
    • Family Rhynchopidae: skimmers
    • Family Sternidae
      Tern
      Terns are seabirds in the family Sternidae, previously considered a subfamily of the gull family Laridae . They form a lineage with the gulls and skimmers which in turn is related to skuas and auks...

      : terns
    • Family Alcidae
      Auk
      An auk is a bird of the family Alcidae in the order Charadriiformes. Auks are superficially similar to penguins due to their black-and-white colours, their upright posture and some of their habits...

      : puffins, guillemots, murres, and allies
    • Family Stercorariidae
      Skua
      The skuas are a group of seabirds with about seven species forming the family Stercorariidae and the genus Stercorarius. The three smaller skuas are called jaegers in North America....

      : skuas
    • Family Glareolidae
      Glareolidae
      Glareolidae is a family of birds in the wader suborder Charadri. It contains two distinct groups, the pratincoles and the coursers. The coursers include the atypical Egyptian Plover, Pluvianus aegyptius, which has sometimes been placed in its own family...

      : pratincoles and coursers
    • Family Dromadidae
      Crab Plover
      The Crab-plover or Crab Plover is a bird related to the waders, but sufficiently distinctive to merit its own family Dromadidae. Its relationship within the Charadriiformes is unclear, some have considered it to be closely related to the thick-knees, or the pratincoles, while others have...

      : Crab Plover
  • Suborder Turnici: buttonquails
    • Family Turnicidae: buttonquails
  • Suborder Chionidi: thick-knees and allies
    • Family Burhinidae
      Stone-curlew
      The Stone-curlews, also known as Dikkops or Thick-knees are a group of largely tropical birds in the family Burhinidae. Despite the group being classified as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats...

      : thick-knees
    • Family Chionididae
      Sheathbill
      The sheathbills are a family of birds, Chionidae. Classified in the wader order Charadriiformes, the family contains one genus, Chionis, with only two species...

      : sheathbills
    • Family Pluvianellidae
      Magellanic Plover
      The Magellanic Plover is a rare and unique wader found only in southernmost South America. It was long placed in with the other plovers in the family Charadriidae, however behavioural evidence suggested they were distinct, and molecular studies confirmed this, suggesting that they are actually...

      : Magellanic Plover
  • Suborder Charadrii: plover-like waders
    • Family Ibidorhynchidae
      Ibisbill
      The Ibisbill is a bird related to the waders, but sufficiently distinctive to merit its own family Ibidorhynchidae. It is grey with a white belly, red legs and long down-curved bill, and a black face and black breast band...

      : Ibisbill
    • Family Recurvirostridae
      Recurvirostridae
      Recurvirostridae is a family of birds in the wader suborder Charadrii. It contains two distinct groups of birds, the avocets and the stilts .-Description and diet:...

      : avocets and stilts
    • Family Haematopodidae
      Oystercatcher
      The oystercatchers are a group of waders; they form the family Haematopodidae, which has a single genus, Haematopus. They are found on coasts worldwide apart from the polar regions and some tropical regions of Africa and South East Asia...

      : oystercatchers
    • Family Charadriidae
      Charadriidae
      The bird family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings, about 64 to 66 species in all.- Morphology :They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings, but most species of lapwing may have more rounded wings...

      : plovers and lapwings


More conservatively, the Thinocori could be included in the Scolopaci, and the Chionidi in the Charadrii, or the Glareolidae could be placed in a suborder of their own. The buttonquails are of indeterminate, quite basal
Basal (phylogenetics)
In phylogenetics, a basal clade is the earliest clade to branch in a larger clade; it appears at the base of a cladogram.A basal group forms an outgroup to the rest of the clade, such as in the following example:...

 position in the Lari-Scolopaci sensu lato group. The arrangement as presented here is a consensus of the recent studies.

Evolution


That the Charadriiformes are an ancient group is also borne out by the fossil record. Much of the Neornithes' fossil record around the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event is made up of bits and pieces of birds which resemble this order. In many, this is probably due to convergent evolution
Convergent evolution
Convergent evolution describes the acquisition of the same biological trait in unrelated lineages.The wing is a classic example of convergent evolution in action. Although their last common ancestor did not have wings, both birds and bats do, and are capable of powered flight. The wings are...

 brought about by semi-aquatic habits. Specimen VI 9901 (López de Bertodano Formation
Lopez de Bertodano Formation
The Lopez de Bertodano Formation is a geological formation in the James Ross archipelago of the Antarctic Peninsula. The strata date to the end of the Late Cretaceous , about 70-65 million years ago. Dinosaur remains are among the fossils that have been recovered from the formation....

, Late Cretaceous
Late Cretaceous
The Late Cretaceous is the younger of two epochs into which the Cretaceous period is divided in the geologic timescale. Rock strata from this epoch form the Upper Cretaceous series...

 of Vega Island
Vega Island
Vega Island is a small island to the northwest of James Ross Island, on the Antarctic Peninsula.- See also :* Composite Antarctic Gazetteer* List of Antarctic islands south of 60° S* SCAR* Territorial claims in Antarctica- References :...

, Antarctica) is probably a basal
Basal (phylogenetics)
In phylogenetics, a basal clade is the earliest clade to branch in a larger clade; it appears at the base of a cladogram.A basal group forms an outgroup to the rest of the clade, such as in the following example:...

 charadriiform somewhat reminiscent of a thick-knee. However, more complete remains of undisputed charadriiforms are known only from the mid-Paleogene
Paleogene
The Paleogene is a geologic period and system that began 65.5 ± 0.3 and ended 23.03 ± 0.05 million years ago and comprises the first part of the Cenozoic Era...

 onwards. Present-day orders emerged around the Eocene
Eocene
The Eocene Epoch, lasting from about 56 to 34 million years ago , is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Palaeocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the...

-Oligocene
Oligocene
The Oligocene is a geologic epoch of the Paleogene Period and extends from about 34 million to 23 million years before the present . As with other older geologic periods, the rock beds that define the period are well identified but the exact dates of the start and end of the period are slightly...

 boundary, roughly 35-30 mya. Basal or unresolved charadriiforms are:
  • "Morsoravis" (Late Paleocene/Early Eocene of Jutland, Denmark) - a nomen nudum
    Nomen nudum
    The phrase nomen nudum is a Latin term, meaning "naked name", used in taxonomy...

    ?
  • Jiliniornis (Huadian Middle Eocene of Huadian, China) - charadriid?
  • Boutersemia (Early Oligocene of Boutersem, Belgium) - glareolid?
  • Turnipax (Early Oligocene) - turnicid?
  • Elorius (Early Miocene Saint-Gérand-le-Puy, France)
  • "Larus" desnoyersii (Early Miocene of SE France) - larid? stercorarid?
  • "Larus" pristinus (John Day Early Miocene of Willow Creek, USA) - larid?
  • Charadriiformes gen. et sp. indet. (Bathans Early/Middle Miocene of Otago, New Zealand) - charadriid? scolopacid?
  • Charadriiformes gen. et sp. indet. (Bathans Early/Middle Miocene of Otago, New Zealand) - charadriid? scolopacid?
  • Charadriiformes gen. et sp. indet. (Bathans Early/Middle Miocene of Otago, New Zealand) - larid?
  • Charadriiformes gen. et sp. indet. (Sajóvölgyi Middle Miocene of Mátraszõlõs, Hungary
  • "Totanus" teruelensis (Late Miocene of Los Mansuetos, Spain) - scolopacid? larid?


The "transitional shorebirds" ("Graculavidae") are a generally Mesozoic
Mesozoic
The Mesozoic era is an interval of geological time from about 250 million years ago to about 65 million years ago. It is often referred to as the age of reptiles because reptiles, namely dinosaurs, were the dominant terrestrial and marine vertebrates of the time...

 form taxon
Form taxon
Form classification is the classification of organisms based on their morphology, which does not necessarily reflect their biological relationships...

 formerly believed to constitute the common ancestors of charadriiforms, waterfowl
Waterfowl
Waterfowl are certain wildfowl of the order Anseriformes, especially members of the family Anatidae, which includes ducks, geese, and swans....

 and flamingo
Flamingo
Flamingos or flamingoes are gregarious wading birds in the genus Phoenicopterus , the only genus in the family Phoenicopteridae...

s. They are now assumed to be mostly basal taxa of the charadriiforms and/or "higher waterbirds", which probably were two distinct lineages 65 mya already, and few if any are still believed to be related to the well-distinct weaterfowl. Taxa formerly considered graculavids are:
  • Laornithidae - charadriiform? gruiform?
    • Laornis
      Laornis
      Laornis is a genus of a prehistoric neornithine birds, known only from Specimen YPM 820, a single tibiotarsus leg bone discovered in the late 19th century. Consequently the genus is monotypic, containing only the species Laornis edvardsianus. Regarding its scientific name, Laornis means "stone...

      (Late Cretaceous?)
  • "Graculavidae"
    • Graculavus
      Graculavus
      Graculavus is a prehistoric bird genus that was described by O. C. Marsh. Its remains were found in the Late Cretaceous Austin Chalk of Texas and Lance Formation , and the controversial Hornerstown Formation which straddles the Cretaceous–Paleocene boundary, possibly dating to the Danian stage...

      (Lance Creek Late Cretaceous - Hornerstown Late Cretaceous/Early Palaeocene) - charadriiform?
    • Palaeotringa
      Palaeotringa
      Palaeotringa is a prehistoric bird genus that was discovered by O. C. Marsh during the bone wars. Its remains were found in the controversial Hornerstown Formation of New Jersey which straddles the Cretaceous-Paleocene boundary some 66 million years ago...

      (Hornerstown Late Cretaceous?) - charadriiform?
    • Telmatornis
      Telmatornis
      Telmatornis is a prehistoric bird genus of unclear affiliations. It apparently lived in the Late Cretaceous; its remains were found in the early Maastrichtian Navesink Formation of New Jersey. A single species is included today, Telmatornis priscus...

      (Navesink Late Cretaceous?) - charadriiform? gruiform?
    • Scaniornis
      Scaniornis
      Scaniornis is a prehistoric bird genus. The only species, Scaniornis lundgreni, lived in the MP 1-5 ....

      - phoenicopteriform?
    • Zhylgaia
      Zhylgaia
      Zhylgaia is a genus of birds known only from fossils. Its remains have been recovered from a Late Cretaceous or Paleogene deposit in Central Asia....

      - presbyornithid?
    • Dakotornis
    • "Graculavidae" gen. et sp. indet. (Gloucester County, USA)


Other wader- or gull-like birds incertae sedis, which may or may not be Charadriiformes, are:
  • Ceramornis
    Ceramornis
    Ceramornis is a prehistoric bird genus from the Late Cretaceous. It lived shortly before the K-Pg mass extinction in the Maastrictian, some 65.5 million years ago . Its remains were found in the Lull 2 location, a Lance Formation site in Niobrara County, Wyoming . A single species is known,...

    (Lance Creek Late Cretaceous)
  • "Cimolopteryx
    Cimolopteryx
    Cimolopteryx is a prehistoric bird genus from the late Cretaceous Period. Remains attributed to Cimolopteryx have been found in the Frenchman Formation of Saskatchewan, the Lance Formation of Wyoming, and possibly the Hell Creek Formation of Montana. All date to the end of the Maastrichtian age,...

    "
    (Lance Creek Late Cretaceous)
  • Palintropus
    Palintropus
    Palintropus is a prehistoric bird genus from the Late Cretaceous. A single species has been named based on a proximal coracoid from the Lance Formation of Wyoming, dated to the latest Maastrichtian, 65.5 million years ago...

    (Lance Creek Late Cretaceous)
  • Torotix
    Torotix
    Torotix is a Late Cretaceous genus of aquatic bird. It lived along the shores of the Western Interior Seaway, but it is not clear whether it was a seabird or a freshwater bird, as it is only known from a humerus. Consequently, the genus is monotypic, with the single species Torotix clemensi.It...

    (Late Cretaceous)
  • Volgavis (Early Paleocene of Volgograd, Russia)
  • Eupterornis (Paleocene of France)
  • Neornithes incerta sedis (Late Paleocene/Early Eocene of Ouled Abdoun Basin, Morocco)
  • Fluviatitavis (Early Eocene of Silveirinha, Portugal)