Anseriformes - Systematics


The Anseriformes and the Galliformes (pheasants, etc.) are the most primitive neognathous birds, and should follow ratites and tinamous in bird classification systems.

Anatidae systematics, especially regarding placement of some "odd" genera in the dabbling ducks or shelducks, is not fully resolved. See the Anatidae article for more information, and for alternate taxonomic approaches. Some unusual fossil groups, such as the Gastornithidae and Dromornithidae, are often found to be at the base of the Anseriformes family tree, or at least their closest relatives. The higher-order classification below follows a phylogenetic analysis performed by Angolin, 2007.

  • Order Anseriformes
    • Brontornis?
    • †Family Dromornithidae?: mihirungs
    • †Family Gastornithidae?: "diatrymas"
    • Anseres (true anseriformes)
      • Family Anhimidae: screamers
      • Family Anseranatidae: the Magpie Goose
      • Superfamily Anatoidea
      • Family Anatidae
        • Subfamily Dendrocygninae: Whistling ducks (sometimes given full family status as the Dendrocygnidae).
        • Subfamily Thalassorninae: the White-backed Duck.
        • Subfamily Anserinae: Swans and geese.
        • Subfamily Stictonettinae: the Freckled Duck.
        • Subfamily Plectropterinae: the Spur-winged Goose.
        • Subfamily Tadorninae: Shelducks and sheldgeese - probably paraphyletic
        • Subfamily Anatinae: Dabbling ducks and moa-nalos
        • Subfamily Aythyinae: Diving ducks (sometimes included in Anatinae)
        • Subfamily Merginae: eiders, scoters, mergansers and other sea-ducks.
        • Subfamily Oxyurinae: Stiff-tailed ducks and allies.
      • †Family Presbyornithidae: several genera of wading-"geese"
      • Vegavis

Some fossil anseriform taxa not assignable with certainty to a family are:

  • Anatalavis (Late Cretaceous/Early Paleocene - Early Eocene) - Anseranatidae or basal.
  • Proherodius (London Clay Early Eocene of London, England) - Presbyornithidae?
  • Romainvillia (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene) - Anseranatidae or Anatidae
  • Paranyroca (Rosebud Early Miocene of Bennett County, USA) - Anatidae or own family?

In addition, a considerable number of mainly Late Cretaceous and Paleogene fossils have been described where it is uncertain whether or not they are anseriforms. This is because almost all orders of aquatic birds living today either originated or underwent a major radiation during that time, making it hard to decide whether some waterbird-like bone belongs into this family or is the product of parallel evolution in a different lineage due to adaptive pressures.

  • "Presbyornithidae" gen. et sp. indet. (Barun Goyot Late Cretaceous of Udan Sayr, Mongolia) - Presbyornithidae?
  • UCMP 117599 (Hell Creek Late Cretaceous of Bug Creek West, USA)
  • Petropluvialis (Late Eocene of England) - may be same as Palaeopapia
  • Agnopterus (Late Eocene - Late Oligocene of Europe) - includes Cygnopterus lambrechti
  • "Headonornis hantoniensis" BMNH PAL 4989 (Hampstead Early Oligocene of Isle of Wight, England) - formerly "Ptenornis"
  • Palaeopapia (Hampstead Early Oligocene of Isle of Wight, England)
  • "Anas" creccoides (Early/Middle Oligocene of Belgium)
  • "Anas" skalicensis (Early Miocene of "Skalitz", Czechia)
  • "Anas" risgoviensis (Late Miocene of Bavaria, Germany)
  • Crested Screamer (Chauna torquata)

  • Magpie Goose (Anseranas semipalmata), sole survivng member of a Mesozoic lineage

  • Cast of Dromornis stirtoni, a mihirung, from Australia.

Read more about this topic:  Anseriformes

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