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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous,[1] 130.7–120 Ma
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Clade: Saurischia
Clade: Theropoda
Clade: Avialae
Clade: Ornithuromorpha
Family: Hongshanornithidae
O'Connor, Gao & Chiappe, 2010
Type species
Hongshanornis longicresta
Zhou & Zhang, 2005

Hongshanornithidae is an extinct group of early ornithuromorph birds from the early Cretaceous period of China. It includes the genera Hongshanornis (the type genus) and Tianyuornis from the Yixian Formation of Inner Mongolia, Longicrusavis from the Yixian Formation of Liaoning Province, Parahongshanornis from the Jiufotang Formation of Liaoning Province, and Archaeornithura, the oldest known member, from the Huajiying Formation of Hebei Province.[1][2][3][4]


Hongshanornithids were small, approximately the size of modern phoebes. Their legs are proportionally long in comparison to the wings, suggesting that they were aquatic wading birds. They most likely lacked beaks and had teeth in their jaws.[3]


Hongshanornithidae was defined as a node-based clade including the last common ancestor of Hongshanornis longicresta and Longicrusavis houi plus all its descendants.[3]

Beginning in 2012, several studies began to find that the hongshanornithids were more closely related to songlingornithids (yanornithiformes) than to other early birds, making them part of the same clade.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b Wang, Min; Zheng, Xiaoting; o’Connor, Jingmai K.; Lloyd, Graeme T.; Wang, Xiaoli; Wang, Yan; Zhang, Xiaomei; Zhou, Zhonghe (2015). "The oldest record of ornithuromorpha from the early cretaceous of China". Nature Communications. 6: 6987. Bibcode:2015NatCo...6.6987W. doi:10.1038/ncomms7987. PMC 5426517. PMID 25942493.
  2. ^ Zhou, Z.; Zhang, F. (2005). "Discovery of an ornithurine bird and its implication for Early Cretaceous avian radiation". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 102 (52): 18998–19002. Bibcode:2005PNAS..10218998Z. doi:10.1073/pnas.0507106102. PMC 1323170. PMID 16344487.
  3. ^ a b c O'Connor, J.K.; Gao, K.-Q.; Chiappe, L.M. (2010). "A new ornithuromorph (Aves: Ornithothoraces) bird from the Jehol Group indicative of higher-level diversity" (PDF). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 30 (2): 311–321. doi:10.1080/02724631003617498. S2CID 53489175.
  4. ^ Li, Li; Jing-Qi Wang and Shi-Lin Hou (2011). "A new ornithurine bird (Hongshanornithidae) from the Jiufotang Formation of Chaoyang, Liaoning, China" (PDF). Vertebrata PalAsiatica. 49 (2): 195–200.
  5. ^ o’Connor, Jingmai K.; Zhou, Zhonghe (2013). "A redescription of Chaoyangia beishanensis(Aves) and a comprehensive phylogeny of Mesozoic birds". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 11 (7): 889–906. doi:10.1080/14772019.2012.690455. S2CID 84386177.
  6. ^ Zhou, Shuang; Zhou, Zhonghe; O'Connor, Jingmai (2013). "A new piscivorous ornithuromorph from the Jehol Biota". Historical Biology. 26 (5): 608–618. doi:10.1080/08912963.2013.819504. S2CID 67854494.