This paper provides phenotypic characters and states inferred to be informative of phylogenetic relationships among modern shorebirds (Charadriiformes), especially those exclusive of the comparatively aerial Stercorariidae, Laridae, and Rynchopidae, and the uniquely specialized wingpropelled diving Alcidae. The ingroup so delimited comprises 245 taxa, with three taxa (Turnix, Afrotis, and Himantornis) used to root trees. Characters comprise 528 features of the internal anatomy (primarily osteological), and 578 features of the integument (primarily plumages). Descriptions follow a consistent style and formal nomenclature, and include prior publications of relevance.
The work resulted in a matrix of dimensions 245 (rows) taxa by 1106 (columns) characters with descriptions in style after Livezey and Zusi (2006) that is available free from www.CarnegieMNH.org/birds/livezey.html. This compilation forms the foundation for a species-level phylogenetic (cladistic) analysis of the Charadriiformes and a phylogenetic framework for the analysis of the diverse ecomorphological attributes of the Charadriiformes.