Under Construction


John Harshman
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California condor
taxon links [up-->]Accipitridae [up-->]Pandionidae [up-->]Sagittariidae [up-->]Cathartidae [down<--]'Land Birds' Interpreting the tree
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This tree diagram shows the relationships between several groups of organisms.

The root of the current tree connects the organisms featured in this tree to their containing group and the rest of the Tree of Life. The basal branching point in the tree represents the ancestor of the other groups in the tree. This ancestor diversified over time into several descendent subgroups, which are represented as internal nodes and terminal taxa to the right.

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You can click on the root to travel down the Tree of Life all the way to the root of all Life, and you can click on the names of descendent subgroups to travel up the Tree of Life all the way to individual species.

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Phylogenetic hypothesis taken from Hackett et al. (2008).
Containing group: 'Land Birds'

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

These families are traditionally included in the order Falconiformes. However, Falconidae (falcons) has been removed from the group and has carried the traditional ordinal name with it. Cathartidae has sometimes been removed from the group and allied to Ciconiidae (storks), but the data do not support this decision.


Hackett, S. J., Kimball, R. T., Reddy, S., Bowie, R. C. K., Braun, E. L., Braun, M. J., Chojnowski, J. L., Cox, W. A., Han, K.-L., Harshman, J., Huddleston, C. J., Marks, B. D., Miglia, K. J., Moore, W. A., Sheldon, F. H., Steadman, D. W., Witt, C. C., and Yuri, T. 2008. A phylogenomic study of birds reveals their evolutionary history. Science 320(5884):1763-1768.

Title Illustrations
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
California condor
Scientific Name Gymnogyps californianus
Location Ventana wilderness area, California, USA
Comments California condor at feeding site before release.
Creator Frier/Nikon, Scott
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Collection U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Online Digital Media Library
Scientific Name Buteo rufinus
Location SerefliKochisar / Ankara / Turkey
Comments Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Copyright © Selen Ediger
Scientific Name Sagittarius serpentarius
Location Kruger National Park, South Africa
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Secretary Bird
Source Collection Flickr
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License - Version 2.0.
Copyright © 2005 Johann du Preez
About This Page

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to John Harshman at

Page: Tree of Life Accipitriformes. Authored by John Harshman. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Harshman, John. 2008. Accipitriformes. Version 27 June 2008 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Accipitriformes/123200/2008.06.27 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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This page is a Tree of Life Branch Page.

Each ToL branch page provides a synopsis of the characteristics of a group of organisms representing a branch of the Tree of Life. The major distinction between a branch and a leaf of the Tree of Life is that each branch can be further subdivided into descendent branches, that is, subgroups representing distinct genetic lineages.

For a more detailed explanation of the different ToL page types, have a look at the Structure of the Tree of Life page.

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