classification is the way in which scientists put all living
things into groups based on how they are alike. Scientists use
certain group labels so that the plant or animal’s place in the
system can be easily seen. For instance:
whether it is an animal, plant, one-celled organism,
algae, or fungi. Kingdom is the Scientific
classification’s biggest group. For example: Birds
of prey are in the Kingdom Animalia, or animals.
This Kingdom includes ALL of the animals in the
Scientists take a group like the Animal Kingdom and
split it into smaller groups based on its insides,
outsides, and behavior. Birds of prey are put in
the Phylum Chordata because they are all
vertebrates. Vertebrates all have a spinal column.
This group is formed when its Phylum is split up
into groups that have bodies or behavior that are
alike. For example, the Phylum Chordata that we are
studying gets separated into mammals, reptiles,
amphibians, fish and birds. Since we are studying
birds of prey, the Class would be Aves, or birds.
This group is formed when the Class is further
separated into like groups. Aves includes any birds
anywhere. There are songbirds, storks, ducks,
geese, woodpeckers, and penguins. That’s only a few
of them! We are studying birds of prey which fall
into two Orders. One is
Falconiformes, birds that
hunt during the day (diurnal), and
birds that hunt at night (nocturnal).
Each of the bird of prey Orders are split into birds
that are alike in some way. For example:
Falconiformes is split into
Accipitridae (hawks, kites, eagles),
Pandionidae (Osprey), and
Cathartidae (vultures). Strigiformes, another Order
that we are studying, is split into
Tytonidae (Barn Owls). Each family has a
‘family resemblance’ like human and mouse families do. The
resemblance might be in how they look, how their
bodies are formed, or even how they hunt. If they
are in the same family, then the likenesses are
Families are divided again according to their
similarities. Now the numbers are getting smaller.
The Genus is divided into smaller groups that have
strong likenesses and would be able to mate and
produce young birds together.
Throughout the years, there have been different plans for
scientific classification. Today classification is based
on how the animal changed over time. The scientists look for
ancestors of the animals, even if the ancestors didn’t look just
are using Scientific Classification so that you will know what
it is, see how it divides the animal kingdom from its greatest
number to its smallest number, and recognize where birds of prey
fit in the system.
team began to work on birds of prey without knowing much about
scientific classification. When we realized that this
would be the perfect way to present these birds so that you
could see their similarities and differences, we had to learn
about it, too.
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