groups are organized by scientific classification, based upon their
anatomical structure, geographic distribution, behavior, blood proteins,
and a variety of other characteristics. Most recently, and probably
most accurately, DNA hybridization has determined the relationships
and supposed evolutionary history of all the bird groups of the world
and most of the species. Learn more below and see Lectures for
more detailed information.
Class Aves, are arranged into groups called Orders (ending in-iformes);
these are such groups as the ducks and geese, loons, hawks and eagles, hummingbirds,
kingfishers and rollers, herons and egrets, and penguins. The largest group,
Passeriformes, is the songbirds. In each order
are Families, ending in -idae. In Gruiformes, the Cranes are in Gruidae
and Rails in Rallidae. Finally, birds have scientific names, the genus and
species, such as Cathartes aura (Turkey Vulture) and the American
Robin, Turdus migratorius.