What Is the Scientific Name for Birds?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 26, 2020 6:15:57 PM ET

The scientific name for the group encompassing modern birds is Aves. Aves is the only surviving branch of the dinosaur family tree. They are a side branch of the maniraptors, a group of bipedal feathery dinosaurs that included Velociraptor.

The name Aves is the Latin word for birds. Birds are considered part of Maniraptora because all members of that group have a specialized wrist bone found in no other animals. In birds, this bone allows them to flap their wing powerfully; its use in other maniraptors is obscure, but in some species it also was likely used for flight. Although birds are dinosaurs, they are still a distinct group within the dinosaur family tree and thus retain their special scientific name, Aves.