The genus Avicularia Lamarck, 1818 is revised and all species are rediagnosed. The type species, described as Aranea avicularia Linnaeus, 1758, is the oldest mygalomorph species described and its taxonomic history is extensive and confusing. Cladistic analyses using both equal and implied weights were carried out with a matrix of 46 taxa from seven theraphosid subfamilies, and 71 morphological and ecological characters. The optimal cladogram found with Piwe and concavity = 6 suggests Avicularia and Aviculariinae are monophyletic. Subfamily Aviculariinae includes Avicularia Lamarck, 1818, Typhochlaena C. L. Koch, 1850, Tapinauchenius Ausserer, 1871, Stromatopelma Karsch, 1881, Ephebopus Simon, 1892, Psalmopoeus Pocock, 1895, Heteroscodra Pocock, 1899, Iridopelma Pocock, 1901, Pachistopelma Pocock, 1901, Ybyraporagen. n., Caribena gen. n., and Antillena gen. n. The clade is supported by well-developed scopulae on tarsi and metatarsi, greatly extended laterally.