The choice of surrogates of biodiversity is an important aspect in conservation biology. The quantification of the coincidence in the spatial patterns of species richness and rarity between different groups and the vulnerability of groups are different approaches frequently considered to accomplish this task. However, a more appropriate approach is to verify the efficiency of priority networks selected using information from one group of organisms to capture the biodiversity of other groups. Using a deconstructive approach, the main purposes of this study were to evaluate the performance of some orders and families of birds in the Cerrado biome (a savanna-like biome) as surrogates of other bird groups, in a pairwise analysis, and to investigate the characteristics of these groups that predict the efficiency in representation of other groups. We used biogeographical data on bird orders or families with more than 10 species that occur in the Brazilian Cerrado. The best surrogate group was the Thamnophilidae. Moreover, this group is not the most specious, favouring further survey efforts that are necessary to verify the conservation value of areas at suitable scales. The majority of the species from this family are dependent on forest habitats, one of the characteristics that most influenced representativeness level, probably due to the spatial distribution of these habitats throughout the Brazilian Cerrado. Beta diversity patterns of the different groups also affected representativeness, and our analyses showed that the networks selected by a surrogate group will be more effective in the representation of other groups of species if their patterns of beta diversity (not richness) are correlated.