Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The diverse order Gruiformes contains about 12 bird families with, on first sight, little in common.
Traditionally, a number of wading and terrestrial bird families that did not seem to belong to any other order were classified together as Gruiformes. These included the large land-based bustards, the very large cranes, the relatively small and secretive water-loving crakes and rails, and the small, plump buttonquail (all families with a wide distribution and a dozen or more member species), as well as a variety of very small families, several of them containing just a single species.
On first sight, the Gruiformes seem to have little in common with one another because they are morphologically diverse, however morphological evidence supports that several groups within the traditional Gruiformes do appear to form a group of birds which are related together. Within the Gruiformes, Rallidae and the Heliornithidae are associated as the Ralli, while the Gruidae. Some (but not all) authorities raise the Rallidae to ordinal status. Aramidae and the Psophiidae form the Grui. A placement of the Otidae, Eurypygidae, Rhynochetidae, Cariamidae, Mesitornithidae and Turnicidae within the Gruiformes is not supported by the available evidence.
The Eurypygidae and Rhynochetidae are similar and are probably represent Ardeiformes and are therefore associated with certain birds that are traditionally interpreted as "Cinoniiformes". The Mesitornithidae and Cariamidae are probably Cuculiformes but the Otididae does not seem to be close to other extant birds and the placement of the Turnicidae is not agreed. DNA work has led to the Plains Wanderer being placed as a charadriiform rather than a Turnicid.
- Order GRUIFORMES
- Sibley, C. G., and J. Ahlquist. 1990. Phylogeny and classification of birds. Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn.
- Taxonomic recommendations for British birds. Ibis (2002), 144, 707–710. Alan g. Knox, Martin Collinson, Andreas J. Helbig, David T. Parkin & George Sangster
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