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John Harshman
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taxon links [up-->]Grallariidae [up-->]Thamnophilidae [up-->]Dendrocolaptidae [up-->]Furnariidae [up-->]Rhinocryptidae [up-->]Scleruridae [up-->]Conopophagidae [up-->]Formicariidae [up-->]Melanopareia Monophyly Uncertain[down<--]Suboscines 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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Relationships after Moyle et al. (2009) and Chesser (2004).

Containing group: Suboscines

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

There is a basal polytomy in Furnarii among four clades: Melanopareia (crescent-chests), a genus traditionally assigned to Rhinocryptidae (Irestedt et al. 2002; Chesser 2004), Thamnophilidae (typical antbirds), Conopophagidae (gnateaters), and remaining Furnarii. Gnat-eaters have been placed as sister to typical antbirds in some analyses (Irestedt et al. 2001, 2002; Chesser 2004) and as sister to most other Furnarii in others (Barker et al. 2002, 2004, Moyle et al. 2009). Thamnophilidae is a clade detached from Formicariidae (then just "antbirds") by Sibley and Ahlquist (1990). But even with thamnophilids removed, Formicariidae (at that point, ground antbirds) has proven to be paraphyletic. It is divided into two parts; one of them, Grallariidae (ant-pittas), is apparently the sister group of the remaining Furnarii (though in some analyses it is the sister group of Rhinocryptidae, the tapaculos). The other part, ant-thrushes, which retains the name Formicariidae, is sister to Furnariidae (ovenbirds) and Dendrocolaptidae (woodcreepers). Traditional Furnariidae is paraphyletic to Dendrocolaptidae (Irestedt et al. 2002; Chesser 2004), and so is also divided into two groups, Scleruridae and Furnariidae. And a third group of Furnariidae, the odd genus Xenops, was found to be even closer to the woodcreepers by Irestedt et al. (2006), but Moyle et al (2009) found it to be within the revised Furnariidae. Nor are even the traditional antpittas monophyletic; one genus commonly assigned to the group,  Pittasoma, turns out to be a gnateater (Rice 2005a, b).

Other Names for Furnarii


Barker, F. K., G. F. Barrowclough, and J. G. Groth. 2002. A phylogenetic hypothesis for passerine birds; Taxonomic and biogeographic implications of an analysis of nuclear DNA sequence data. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 269:295-308.

Barker, F. K., A. Cibois, P. Schikler, J. Feinstein, and J. Cracraft. 2004. Phylogeny and diversification of the largest avian radiation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101:11040-11045.

Chesser, R. T. 2004. Molecular systematics of New World suboscine birds. Mol. Phylogen. Evol. 32:11-24.

Feduccia, A. 1973. Evolutionary trends in the Neotropical ovenbirds and woodhewers. Ornithol. Monogr. 13:1–69.

Irestedt, M., J. Fjeldså, and P. G. P. Ericson. 2006. Evolution of the ovenbird-woodcreeper assemblage (Aves: Furnariidae) — major shifts in nest architecture and adaptive radiation. Journal of Avian Biology 37:261–272.

Irestedt, M., J. Fjeldså, U. S. Johansson, and P. G. P. Ericson. 2002. Systematic relationships and biogeography of the tracheophone suboscines (Aves: Passeriformes). Mol. Phylogen. Evol. 23:499-512.

Irestedt, M., U. S. Johansson, T. J. Parsons, and P. G. P. Ericson. 2001. Phylogeny of major lineages of suboscines (Passeriformes) analysed by nuclear DNA sequence data. J. Avian Biol. 32:15-25.

Krabbe, N. K. and Schulenberg, T. S. 2003. Family Formicariidae (Ground-antbirds). Pages 682–731 in Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 8. Broadbills to Tapaculos. BirdLife International and Lynx Editions, Cambridge, UK and Barcelona.

Moyle, R. G., R. T. Chesser, R. T. Brumfield, J. G. Tello, D. J. Marchese, and J. Cracraft. 2009. Phylogeny and phylogenetic classification of the antbirds, ovenbirds, woodcreepers, and allies (Aves: Passeriformes: infraorder Furnariides. Cladistics 25:386-405.

Rice, N. H. 2005a. Phylogenetic relationships of antpitta genera (Passeriformes: Formicariidae). Auk 122(2):673-683.

Rice, N. H. 2005b. Further Evidence for Paraphyly of the Formicariidae (Passeriformes). Condor 107(4):910-915.

Ridgely, R. S. and G. Tudor. 1994. The Birds of South America. Volume 2. The Suboscine Passerines. University of Texas, Austin.

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

Skutch, A. F. 1996. Antbirds and Ovenbirds. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX.

Tubaro, P. L., D. A. Lijtmaer, M. G. Palacios, and C. Kopuchian. 2002. Adaptive modification of tail structure in relation to body mass and buckling in woodcreepers. Condor 104(2):281-296.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Furnarius rufus
Location Entre Rios, Argentina
Comments on incomplete nest
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Rufous Hornero (Furnarius rufus) on incomplete nest
Source Collection Flickr
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License - Version 2.0.
Copyright © 2006 Lip Kee Yap
Scientific Name Melanopareia torquata
Location Ribeiro Gonçalves no Piauí, Brazil
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Melanopareia torquata - Collared Crescent-chest
Source Collection Flickr
Copyright © 2006 Ciro Albano
Scientific Name Xiphorhynchus guttatus
Location Petrópolis, Brasil
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Arapaçu-de-garganta-amarela
Source Collection Flickr
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License - Version 2.0.
Copyright © 2006 Antonio CBC Lopes
About This Page

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to John Harshman at

Page: Tree of Life Furnarii. Authored by John Harshman. 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. 2009. Furnarii. Version 22 August 2009 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Furnarii/67980/2009.08.22 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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