Phylogenetic relationships among the Tyrannides were assessed using over 4000 base pairs of nuclear recombination activating 1 (RAG-1) and 2 (RAG-2) DNA sequence data from about 93% of all described genera, which represents the most complete assessment of relationships for this diverse New World radiation to date. With this sampling we propose a significantly expanded interpretation of higher-level relationships within the group. The Tyrannides are shown to be comprised of six major lineages, all of which represent traditional family-level taxa (sensuFitzpatrick, 2004a and Snow, 2004a,b; del Hoyo et al., 2004): (i) manakins (Pipridae); (ii) cotingas (Cotingidae); (iii) the sharpbill (Oxyruncus) + onychorhynchine flycatchers (Onychorhynchini); (iv) tityrines (Tityridae); (v) rhynchocycline flycatchers (Rhynchocyclidae); and (vi) the tyrant flycatchers (Tyrannidae). In addition, the RAG data recovered isolated lineages with uncertain relationships, including Neopipo, Platyrinchus, Piprites, and Tachuris. The Pipridae are the sister-group to all the other Tyrannides. Within the latter, the clade ((Oxyruncidae + Tityridae) + Cotingidae) is the sister-group of the Tyrannoidea. Within the Tyrannoidea, the Rhynchocyclidae and their allies are sisters to Neopipo + Tyrannidae. Using our phylogenetic hypothesis, we propose the first comprehensive phylogenetic classification that attempts to achieve isometry between the tree and a classification scheme using subordination and phyletic sequencing. This study thus provides a phylogenetic framework for understanding the evolution of this diverse New World assemblage, and identifies many avenues for further systematic study.

 © The Willi Hennig Society 2009.