Successful commensal bacteria have evolved to maintain colonization in challenging environments. The oral viridans streptococci are pioneer colonizers of dental plaque biofilm. Some of these bacteria have adapted to life in the oral cavity by binding salivary α-amylase, which hydrolyzes dietary starch, thus providing a source of nutrition. Oral streptococcal species bind α-amylase by expressing a variety of amylase-binding proteins (ABPs). Here we determine the genotypic basis of amylase binding where proteins of diverse size and function share a common phenotype.ABPs were detected in culture supernatants of 27 of 59 strains representing 13 oral Streptococcus species screened using the amylase-ligand binding assay. N-terminal sequences from ABPs of diverse size were obtained from 18 strains representing six oral streptococcal species. Genome sequencing and BLAST searches using N-terminal sequences, protein size, and key words identified the gene associated with each ABP. Among the sequenced ABPs, 14 matched amylase-binding protein A (AbpA), 6 matched amylase-binding protein B (AbpB), and 11 unique ABPs were identified as peptidoglycan-binding, glutamine ABC-type transporter, hypothetical, or choline-binding proteins. Alignment and phylogenetic analyses performed to ascertain evolutionary relationships revealed that ABPs cluster into at least six distinct, unrelated families (AbpA, AbpB, and four novel ABPs) with no phylogenetic evidence that one group evolved from another, and no single ancestral gene found within each group. AbpA-like sequences can be divided into five subgroups based on the N-terminal sequences. Comparative genomics focusing on the abpA gene locus provides evidence of horizontal gene transfer.The acquisition of an ABP by oral streptococci provides an interesting example of adaptive evolution.