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The "Corvida" were one of two "parvorders" contained within the suborder Passeri, as proposed in the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy, the other being Passerida. Standard taxonomic practice would place them at the rank of infraorder.

More recent research suggests that this is not a distinct clade—a group of closest relatives and nothing else—but an evolutionary grade instead; as such, it is abandoned in modern treatments, being replaced by a number of superfamilies that are considered rather basal among the Passeri.

It was presumed that cooperative breeding—present in many or most members of the Maluridae, Meliphagidae, Artamidae and Corvidae, among others—is a common apomorphy of this group,[1] but as evidenced by the updated phylogeny, this trait is rather the result of parallel evolution, perhaps because the early Passeri had to compete against many ecologically similar birds (see near passerine).[citation needed]

Placement of "Corvida" families[edit]

This table lists, in taxonomic order, the families placed in "Corvida" by the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy in the left column; the right column contains details of their placement in modern systematics.

Corvoidea and Meliphagoidea are placed basally among the Passeri too, they are, however, groups large enough to be considered superfamilies in their own right.

Family Modern placement
Menuridae: lyrebirds Basalmost Passeri, close to Atrichornithidae
Atrichornithidae: scrub-birds Basalmost Passeri, close to Menuridae
Climacteridae: Australian treecreepers Basal Passeri, close to Ptilonorhynchidae
Ptilonorhynchidae: bowerbirds Basal Passeri, close to Climacteridae
Maluridae: fairy-wrens, emu-wrens and grasswrens Meliphagoidea. Nowadays several families.
Meliphagidae: honeyeaters and allies Meliphagoidea
Pardalotidae: pardalotes, scrubwrens, thornbills, and gerygones Meliphagoidea. Nowadays several families; Pardalotidae proper might belong in Meliphagidae
Petroicidae: Australasian robins Passeri incertae sedis, close to Picathartidae
Orthonychidae: logrunners Passeri incertae sedis, close to Pomatostomidae
Pomatostomidae: Australasian babblers Passeri incertae sedis, close to Orthonychidae
Cinclosomatidae: whipbirds and allies Corvoidea incertae sedis, relationships with Pachycephalidae unresolved
Neosittidae: sittellas Corvoidea
Pachycephalidae: whistlers, shrike-thrushes, pitohuis and allies Corvoidea incertae sedis, highly paraphyletic and relationships with Cinclosomatidae unresolved
Dicruridae: monarch flycatchers and allies Corvoidea. Possibly paraphyletic
Campephagidae: cuckoo-shrikes and trillers (initially included in Laniidae)[verification needed] Corvoidea
Oriolidae: orioles and figbirds Corvoidea
Icteridae: American blackbirds/orioles, grackles and cowbirds Passerida: Passeroidea (the most "modern" main lineage of songbirds)
Artamidae: woodswallows, butcherbirds, currawongs and Australian magpie Corvoidea
Paradisaeidae: birds of paradise Corvoidea
Cnemophilidae: satinbirds (included in Paradisaeidae) Passeri incertae sedis, possibly close to Callaeidae
Corvidae: crows, ravens, jays, etc. Corvoidea
Corcoracidae: white-winged chough and apostlebird Corvoidea
Irenidae: fairy-bluebirds Passeri incertae sedis; close to Passeroidea or Regulidae (kinglets)
Laniidae: shrikes Corvoidea
Prionopidae: helmetshrikes (initially included in Laniidae) Corvoidea
Malaconotidae: bush-shrikes and allies (initially included in Laniidae) Corvoidea
Vireonidae: vireos Corvoidea
Vangidae: vangas Corvoidea
Turnagridae: piopios Corvoidea (included in Oriolidae)
Callaeidae: New Zealand wattlebirds Passeri incertae sedis, possibly close to Cnemophilidae

In addition, the following families were not included in the "Corvida" although their closest relationships are with taxa included therein:

Family Sibley-Ahlquist placement Modern placement
Platysteiridae: wattle-eyes Passerida (included in Muscicapidae) Corvoidea
Picathartidae: rockfowl Passerida Passeri incertae sedis, close to Petroicidae
Chaetopidae: rockjumpers Passerida (Turdidae) Passeri incertae sedis, close to Petroicidae
Melanocharitidae: berrypeckers and longbills Passerida Passeri incertae sedis, possibly close to Cnemophilidae
Paramythiidae: tit berrypecker and crested berrypecker Passerida (included in Melanocharitidae) Passeri incertae sedis, possibly close to Cnemophilidae


  1. ^ Cockburn (1996)


  • Cockburn, A. (1996): Why do so many Australian birds cooperate? Social evolution in the Corvida. In: Floyd, R.; Sheppard, A. & de Barro, P. (eds.): Frontiers in Population Ecology: 21–42. CSIRO, Melbourne.