The genus Teretistris was long thought to sit in the New World warbler family Parulidae, until a 2002 study examined 25 genera of New World warbler using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA found that six genera were best placed outside the family, including Teretistris. Five of the genera had long been suspected to not sit comfortably inside Parulidae, but before this study there had never been a suggestion that Teretistris did not belong in the New World warbler family.
A follow up study published in 2013 supported the separation of the genus from Parulidae but found it difficult to resolve exactly where it sat with the other nine-primaried songbirds. Their closest relatives may be the wrenthrush, genus Zeledonia, now often treated as a monotypic family, Zeledoniidae. The study's authors nevertheless recommended separating the genus into its own family, Teretistridae. The family was included in the 58th supplement of the American Ornithological Society (AOC) checklist in 2017, and the family has also been accepted by the International Ornithological Congress' (IOC) Birds of the World: Recommended English Names, the Handbook of the Birds of the World's HBW Alive and The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World.
These four authorities have also adopted the common name of Cuban warblers for the family. The 2013 Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World took a different approach, however, and placed the two Cuban warblers with the wrenthrush in the family Zeledoniidae.
The family contains two closely related species, usually treated as a species pair:
The yellow-headed warbler is monotypic, meaning it has no described subspecies. In 2000 a subspecies of the Oriente warbler, turquinensis, was described from Pico Turquino, a mountain in the south of the island. The subspecies has been accepted by some authorities, but one has suggested that further research is required.