Bird Taxonomy

Sometimes when talking about birds we reference their taxonomic standing.  When classifying or categorizing living things we start out at the most inclusive (domain) and go to the least inclusive (species).  The categories go as follows:  Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and then Species.  Birds are in the Domain-Eukarya, Kingdom-Animalia, Phylum-Chordata, and Class-Aves.  What follows are the main orders and families of birds in Arkansas.  Order names typically end in “-iformes” while family names end in “-dae.” If there are no families listed after the order then it is a monotypic order or there isn’t enough diversity to warrant special mention.  About 60 percent of birds are in the order Passeriformes so they are usually associated with a family instead of the order.  Also keep in mind, that there are several versions of bird taxonomy but this is a generic version.

In the following days I will have a list of the birds commonly found in Arkansas sorted taxonomically.

Anseriformes-Ducks, Geese, Swans

Galliformes-Pheasants, Turkey, Quail





-Phalacrocoracidae/Anhingidae-Cormorants and Anhinga (fairly similar)

-Ardeidae-Herons, Egrets, Bitterns

-Threskiornithidae-Ibises and Spoonbills


Accipitriformes-Hawks, Vultures, Kites, Harrier


-Rallidae-Coots, Rails, Gallinules




-Recurvirostridae-Stilts and Avocets


-Laridae-Gulls and Terns

Columbiformes-Doves and Pigeons

Cuculiformes-Cuckoos and Roadrunners


Caprimulgiformes-Nighthawks and Nightjars











-Corvidae-Jays, Crows, and Magpies

-Hirundinidae-Swallows and Martins


-Paridae-Titmice and Chickadees






-Turdidae-Bluebirds, Robins, and Thrushes

-Mimidae-Mockingbirds, Catbirds, and Thrashers





-Parulidae-Wood Warblers

-Emberizidae-Sparrows and Towhees

-Cardinalidae-Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Buntings, and Tanagers

-Icteridae-Blackbirds, Meadowlarks, and Orioles


-Passeridae-Old World Sparrows

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