The near passerine bird order Cuculiformes traditionally included three families as below:
- Musophagidae - turacos and allies
- Cuculidae - cuckoos, coucals, roadrunners and anis
- Opisthocomidae - Hoatzin (or Opisthocomiformes)
However, the taxonomy of this group is now controversial. The Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy raises the Musophagidae to an order Musophagiformes which may or may not be warranted. The Hoatzin continues to be enigmatic; it is probably best regarded as a distinct, monotypic order, especially if the turacos are also considered one. The coucals and anis are sometimes considered subfamilies of the Cuculidae, or otherwise assigned to families of their own, the Centropodidae and Crotophagidae respectively.
The fossil record of this group is much debated. The unique anatomy of Cuculidae (in the old sense) often allows for the easy identification even of isolated bones. Cuckoo s of prehistoric genera are known since the Late Eocene, some 40-35 million years ago. Turaco fossils are known from much later only.
A number of other Paleogene fossils have at times been assigned to the Cuculiformes, but they are not usually included here anymore in more recent treatments: The Late Paleocene to mid-Eocene Gracilitarsidae were at first believed to be cuculiforms but this is not generally accepted today. They remain mysterious though, due to their apomorphic anatomy, and might be close to the equally enigmatic Sylphornithidae known from the mid-Eocene to the Early Oligocene. From the Early Eocene, Parvicuculus and Procuculus might be Cypselomorphae of a hitherto unrecognized lineage. Foro might be allied with the Hoatzin; it had been touted as a "missing link" between this bird and the Cuculiformes proper but as noted above, it is just impossible to closely ally the Hoatzin with any extant birds.
The Order Cuculiformes is further organized into finer groupings including:
- Suborder (2): Cuculi · Musophagi
- Infraorder (2): Crotophagides · Cuculides
- Parvorder (4): Coccyzida · Crotophagida · Cuculida · Neomorphida
- Family (7): Centropodidae · Coccyzidae · Crotophagidae · Cuculidae · Musophagidae · Neomorphidae · Parvicuculidae
- Species: ZipcodeZoo has pages for 851 species and subspecies in the Order Cuculiformes.
A coucal "????????" is one of about 30 species of birds in the cuckoo family. All of them belong in the subfamily Centropodinae and the genus Centropus. Unlike many Old World cuckoos, coucals are not brood parasites. On the other hand they do have their own reproductive peculiarity: all members of the genus are to varying degrees sex-role reversed so that the smaller male provides most of the parental care. At least one coucal species, the Black Coucal, is polyandrous. Some species (Centropus phasianinus) have the male investing more in incubation and parental care. Recent DNA evidence suggests that they should be raised to family status, as Centropodidae. [more]
Coccyzidae is a family of birds comprising 18 new world cuckoos, ranging from Canada to Argentina. The family consists of the genera Coccyzus, Hyetornis, Piaya and Saurothera. [more]
The anis (Crotophagidae) are a small family of gregarious birds occurring in the Americas. They are part of the cuckoo order Cuculiformes and are sometimes placed as a subfamily Crotophaginae within the cuckoo family Cuculidae. [more]
The cuckoos are a family, Cuculidae, of near passerine birds. The order Cuculiformes, in addition to the cuckoos, also includes the turacos (family Musophagidae, sometimes treated as a separate order, Musophagiformes). Some zoologists and taxonomists have also included the unique Hoatzin in the Cuculiformes, but its taxonomy remains in dispute. The cuckoo family, in addition to those species named as such, also includes the roadrunners, koels, malkohas, couas, coucals and anis. The coucals and anis are sometimes separated as distinct families, the Centropodidae and Crotophagidae respectively. [more]
The turacos make up the bird family Musophagidae (literally "banana-eaters"), which includes plantain-eaters and go-away-birds. In southern Africa both turacos and go-away-birds are commonly known as louries. They are semi-zygodactylous - the fourth (outer) toe can be switched back and forth. The second and third toes, which always point forward, are conjoined in some species. Musophagids often have prominent crests and long tails; the turacos are noted for peculiar and unique pigments giving them their bright green and red feathers. [more]
Neomorphidae is a proposed family of birds, separating the ground cuckoos (including roadrunners) from the rest of the cuckoo family. It is traditionally nested within the family Cuculidae as the subfamily Neomorphinae. [more]
More info about the Family Parvicuculidae may be found here.
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