Nine-primaried oscine

The nine-primaried oscines are a group of songbird families from the parvorder Passerida in the infraorder Passerides. It is composed of the Fringillidae (finches and Hawaiian honeycreepers), Emberizidae (Old World buntings), Passerellidae (American sparrows), Parulidae (New World warblers), Thraupidae (tanagers), Cardinalidae (cardinals), Icteridae (icterids) and the monotypic Peucedramidae (olive warbler). The name of this group arises from the fact that all species within it have only nine easily visible primary feathers on each wing (in reality most, if not all, also have a 10th primary, but it is greatly reduced and largely concealed).[1]

These families (with the possible exception of the Fringillidae[citation needed]) appear to form a clade; the status of the peculiar olive warbler and the distinct bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) need to be clarified. In most bird classifications, this group is placed at the end of the taxonomic sequence.

In the Sibley–Ahlquist classification, the nine-primaried oscines are treated as a single family (Fringillidae sensu Sibley & Ahlquist). As noted above, this is not correct as they defined it, and in any case has not found widespread support. A more common scheme, often used by American ornithologists, is to treat most of these groups in a vastly expanded Emberizidae, but this is also likely to be overlumping.

This group (omitting the family Fringillidae) is now generally known as the superfamily Emberizoidea.[2][3]


  1. ^ Hall, K.S.S. (2005). "Do nine-primaried passerines have nine or ten primary feathers? The evolution of a concept". Journal of Ornithology. 146 (2): 121–126. doi:10.1007/s10336-004-0070-5.
  2. ^ Barker, F.K.; Burns, K.J.; Klicka, J.; Lanyon, S.M.; Lovette, I.J. (2013). "Going to extremes: contrasting rates of diversification in a recent radiation of New World passerine birds". Systematic Biology. 62 (2): 298–320. doi:10.1093/sysbio/sys094. PMID 23229025.
  3. ^ Oliveros, C.H.; et al. (2019). "Earth history and the passerine superradiation". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. 116 (16): 7916–7925. doi:10.1073/pnas.1813206116.