|Abstract||Recent studies based on different types of data (i.e. morphological and molecular) have supported conflicting phylogenies for the genera of avian feather lice (Ischnocera: Phthiraptera). We analyse new and published data from morphology and from mitochondrial (12S rRNA and COI) and nuclear (EF1-?) genes to explore the sources of this incongruence and explain these conflicts. Character convergence, multiple substitutions at high divergences, and ancient radiation over a short period of time have contributed to the problem of resolving louse phylogeny with the data currently available. We show that apparent incongruence between the molecular datasets is largely attributable to rate variation and nonstationarity of base composition. In contrast, highly significant character incongruence leads to topological incongruence between the molecular and morphological data. We consider ways in which biases in the sequence data could be misleading, using several maximum likelihood models and LogDet corrections. The hierarchical structure of the data is explored using likelihood mapping and SplitsTree methods. Ultimately, we concede there is strong discordance between the molecular and morphological data and apply the conditional combination approach in this case. We conclude that higher level phylogenetic relationships within avian Ischnocera remain extremely problematic. However, consensus between datasets is beginning to converge on a stable phylogeny for avian lice, at and below the familial rank.