Psychology Wiki

Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

Animals · Animal ethology · Comparative psychology · Animal models · Outline · Index

Male Superb Lyrebird
Male Superb Lyrebird
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri

Many, see text

A songbird or oscine is a bird belonging to the suborder Passeri of Passeriformes (ca. 4000 species), in which the vocal organ is developed in such a way as to produce various sound notes, commonly known as bird song. There is evidence to suggest that songbirds evolved about 50 million years ago in the western part of Gondwanaland that later became Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and Antarctica, before spreading around the world.[1]

This 'bird song' is essentially territorial in that it communicates the identity and whereabouts of an individual to other birds and also signals sexual intentions. It is not to be confused with bird calls, which are used for alarms and contact, and are especially important in birds that feed or migrate in flocks.

Other birds have songs to attract mates or hold territory, but these are usually simple and repetitive, lacking the variety of many passerine songs. The monotonous repetition of the Common Cuckoo or Little Crake can be contrasted with the variety of a Nightingale or Marsh Warbler.

Although many songbirds have songs which are pleasant to the human ear, this is not invariably the case. Many members of the crow family make croaks or screeches which sound harsh to humans.


Under the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy this suborder is divided into two "parvorders", Corvida and Passerida (standard taxonomic practice would rank these as infraorders). However, more recent research[How to reference and link to summary or text] is casting doubt on the existence of Corvida as a single clade, but given the present lack of any generally accepted redivision of Corvida into two or more groupings at the parvorderial level, the families of suborder Passeri are listed below as being in either Corvida or Passerida.



  • Menuridae: lyrebirds
  • Atrichornithidae: scrub birds
  • Climacteridae: Australian treecreepers
  • Maluridae: fairy-wrens, emu-wrens and grasswrens
  • Meliphagidae: honeyeaters and chats
  • Pardalotidae: pardalotes, scrubwrens, thornbills, and gerygones
  • Petroicidae: Australian robins
  • Orthonychidae: logrunners
  • Pomatostomidae: Australasian babblers
  • Cinclosomatidae: whipbirds and allies
  • Neosittidae: sittellas
  • Pachycephalidae: whistlers, shrike-thrushes, pitohuis and allies
  • Dicruridae: monarch flycatchers and allies
  • Campephagidae: cuckoo shrikes and trillers
  • Oriolidae: orioles and Figbird
  • Artamidae: woodswallows, butcherbirds, currawongs and Australian Magpie
  • Paradisaeidae: birds of paradise
  • Corvidae: crows, magpies, and jays
  • Corcoracidae: White-winged Chough and Apostlebird
  • Irenidae: fairy-bluebirds
  • Laniidae: shrikes
  • Vireonidae: vireos
  • Ptilonorhynchidae: bowerbirds
  • Turnagridae: Piopio


  • Alaudidae: larks
  • Chloropseidae: leafbirds
  • Aegithinidae: ioras
  • Picathartidae: rockfowl
  • Eupetidae: rail-babbler
  • Mohoidae
  • Bombycillidae: waxwings and allies
  • Ptilogonatidae: silky flycatchers
  • Cinclidae: dippers
  • Motacillidae: wagtails and pipits
  • Prunellidae: accentor
  • Melanocharitidae: berrypeckers and longbills
  • Paramythiidae: tit berrypecker and crested berrypeckers
  • Passeridae: true sparrows
  • Estrildidae: estrildid finches (waxbills, munias, etc)
  • Parulidae: New World warblers
  • Thraupidae: tanagers and allies
  • Peucedramidae: Olive Warbler
  • Fringillidae: true finches
  • Cardinalidae: cardinals
  • Drepanididae: Hawaiian honeycreepers
  • Emberizidae: buntings and American sparrows
  • Nectariniidae: sunbirds
  • Dicaeidae: flowerpeckers
  • Mimidae: mockingbirds and thrashers
  • Sittidae: nuthatches
  • Certhiidae: treecreepers
  • Troglodytidae: wrens
  • Polioptilidae: gnatcatchers
  • Paridae: tits, chickadees and titmice
  • Aegithalidae: long-tailed tits
  • Hirundinidae: swallows and martins
  • Regulidae: kinglets
  • Pycnonotidae: bulbuls
  • Phylloscopidae: leaf-warblers and allies. Recently split from Sylviidae.
  • Sylviidae: Old World warblers
  • Hypocoliidae: Hypocolius
  • Cisticolidae: cisticolas and allies
  • Icteridae: American blackbirds, New World orioles, grackles and cowbirds.
  • Zosteropidae: White-eyes
  • Timaliidae: babblers
  • Muscicapidae: Old World flycatchers and chats
  • Turdidae: thrushes and allies
  • Sturnidae: starlings

See also


External links


Look up this page on
Wiktionary: oscine

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).