Piciformes

Families overview for this order

  • Small to medium-sized slender perching birds with small feet, rounded wings, and very long bill used to catch insects in flight; plumage varies from brightly coloured and iridescent to fairly dull.
  • Neotropical.
  • Wooded, mostly lowland habitats.
  • Small to medium-sized perching birds with large head, short rounded wings, stocky body, small feet, and narrow tail; plumage soft, and drab to contrasting.
  • Neotropical.
  • Wooded, mostly lowland habitats.
  • Medium-sized to large, colourful arboreal birds with huge bill and long tail.
  • Neotropical, with greatest diversity in Amazonia.
  • Tropical forest, mostly in lowlands, but reaching temperate zone in mountains; one species ranges into woodland.

Traditionally, all barbets were lumped into a single family under this name. In recent decades, increasing weight of evidence #R#R#R#R indicates: separate families should be recognized for species from America (Capitonidae), Asia (Megalaimidae) and Africa (Lybiidae); American barbets further divisible by recognition of aberrant family Semnornithidae; and American barbets are closer to toucans than to Old World barbets.

  • Small to moderately large, robust arboreal birds with strong bill and sharp claws.
  • Pantropical, with greatest diversity in Afrotropical.
  • Forest, woodland and scrub.

Traditionally lumped into Capitonidae (which see). Genetic data suggest inconclusively that it may be sister to Ramphastidae#R#R or perhaps to both Ramphastidae and Capitonidae#R#R.

Traditionally lumped into Capitonidae (which see).

Traditionally lumped into Capitonidae (which see).

  • Medium-small, rather nondescript arboreal birds with small head, short bill, nostrils often raised, and generally rather drab plumage with white outer-tail markings.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia.
  • Forest and woodland, including streamside trees in near-desert; from lowlands to near tree-line in mountains.
  • Small to rather large birds with straight medium-length bill, short legs with four long toes, some species with only three toes; tail of most long, with strong central feathers; long tongue with barbed tip.
  • Holarctic, Neotropical, Afrotropical and Oriental.
  • Forest, woodland and grassland, from cold temperate zone to tropics.