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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 978 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CLASS AVES I. Sub-class Archaeornithes.—The three fingers and their metacarpals remain separate, each with a claw. Well-developed remiges. Both jaws with alveolar teeth. Amphicoelous. Caudal vertebrae more than thirteen, without a pygostyle, but with about twelve pairs of rectrices. Archaeopteryx, A. lithographica, s. macroura, two specimens from the upper Oolite of Solenhofen, Bavaria. II. Sub-class Neornithes.—Metacarpals fused. Second finger the longest. Not more than thirteen caudal vertebrae. I. Division RATITAE.—Terrestrial, flightless. Without sternal keel. Quadrate bone with single proximal knob. With-out pygostyle. Coracoid and scapula fused. Compound rhamphotheca. Adult without apteria. With copulatory organ. A collective polyphyletic or heterogeneous group, originally cosmopolitan; with certainty existing since the Miocene. 1. Order Struthiones.—With pubic symphysis. Two toes only, third and fourth. Struthio, ostrich, Pliocene of Samos and of north-west India, now Africa and Arabia. 2. Order Rheae.—With long ischiadic symphysis. Three toes. Mesembriornis, Miocene or Pliocene of Argentina. Rhea, South America. 3. Order Casuarii.—Three toes. Aftershaft as long as the other I half. Casuarius and Dromaeus, Australian. Hypselornis, Pliocene of Sivalik Hills. 4. Order Apteryges.—Four toes. Bill long and slender. Apteryx, New Zealand. 5, Order Dinornithes.—Three or four toes. Bill short. Anterior limbs extremely reduced. Dinornis, numerous species, recently extinct, New Zealand. 6. Order Aepyornithes. Aenyornis, recently extinct, Madagascar. To the Ratitae belong possibly also the imperfectly known Diatryma, Eocene of New Mexico, Gastornis and Dasornis, Eocene of Europe, Genyornis, Pleistocene of Australia. II. Division ODONTOLcAE.--Marine, flightless, without sternal keel. Upper and lower jaws with teeth in furrows. Cretaceous epoch. Enaliornis, England, vertebrae chiefly biconcave; Hesperornis, North America, vertebrae heterocoelous. 1. Order Ichthyomithes.—Power of flight well developed. Vertebrae still amphicoelous. With small pygostyle. Incisura ischiadica. With alveolar teeth. Cretaceous of Kansas. Ichthyornis, Apatornis. 2. Order Colymbiformes.—Plantigrade, nidifugous, aquatic. All toes webbed, fourth largest, hallux short; metatarsus laterally compressed ; tibia with high, pyramidal crest. Bill straight, pointed, with simple sheath. Sub-order 1. COLYMBI, Divers. Front toes completely webbed. Holarctic. Colymbus. Sub-order 2. PODICIPEDES, Grebes. Toes lobated. Cosmopolitan. 3. Order Sphenisciformes.—Nidicolous, marine. Fiightless, wings transformed into rowing paddles. SPHENISCI, penguins. Antarctic and southern temperate coasts. Since the Eocene. 4. Order Procellariiformes.—Well flying, pelagic, nidicolous. Hallux absent or vestigial. Rhamphotheca compound. Cosmopolitan. TUBINARES, petrels and albatrosses. 5. Order Ciconiiformes.—Swimmers or waders. Desmognathous, without basipterygoid processes; with one pair of sternotracheal muscles. Sub-order 1. STEGANOPODES.— Well flying, aquatic, nidicolous; with all the four toes webbed together. Rhamphotheca compound; cosmopolitan. Phaethon, tropic-bird; Sula, gannet; Phalacrocorax, cormorant and Plotus, snake-bird; Fregata, frigate-bird; Pelecanus. Here also Pelagornis, Miocene of France; Argillornis and probably Odontopteryx from the London Clay. Sub-order 2. ARDEAE.—Piscivorous, nidicolous, waders; with complicated hypotarsus and with long cervical apteria. Ardeidae, cosmopolitan; including Cancroma, Neotropical, Balaeniceps, Scopidae, Ethiopian. Proherodius, Eocene of England. Sub-order 3. CIcoNIAE.—Zoophagous, nidicolous, waders; with simple hypotarsus and without cervical apteria. Cosmopolitan. Ciconiidae, storks. Ibidae, ibises and spoonbills. Propelargus, Oligocene. Sub-order 4. PHOENICOPTERI.—Flamingos. Nidifugous, waders; with simple hypotarsus and without cervical apteria. Front toes completely webbed ; hallux very short or absent; feed chiefly on small aquatic invertebrates. Phoenicopterus, cosmopolitan. Oligocene Elornis and, allied, Palaelodus. 6. Order Anseriformes.—Desmognathous, nidifugous; with two pairs of sterno-tracheal muscles, with complete basipterygoid processes and with a penis. Sub-order 1. PALAMEDEAE.—Screamers. Ribs without uncinate processes. Hypotarsus simple. Neotropical. Chauna, Palamedea. Sub-order 2. ANSERES.—Family Anatidae. Hypotarsus complex. Anser, Anas, Cygnus, since Miocene. Cnemiornis, Pleistocene, New Zealand, flightless. 7. Order Falconiformes.—Birds of prey. Carnivorous, desmognathous, nidicolous, without functional caeca. Terrestrial, aerial. Sub-order 1. CATHARTAE.—American vultures. With nares perviae. Cathartes, turkey buzzards, Sarcorhamphus gryphus, condor Gypagus papa, king vulture. Sub-order 2. ACcIPITRES.—With nares imperviae. Serpentariidae, secretary-bird, Ethiopian; Miocene, France. Vulturidae, Old World vultures, excluding Australia. Falconidae, cosmopolitan, since the Eocene. Harpagornis, Pleistocene, New Zealand; Lithornis, Eocene, England. Pandionidae, ospreys or fish hawks, cosmopolitan. S. Order Tinamiformes.—Nidifugous, with incisura ischiadica, without pygostyle. Herbivorous, terrestrial, neotropical. Crypturi, tinamous. 9. Order Galliformes.—Schizognathous, herbivorous, terrestrial. With ten functional remiges. With strong spinae sterni. Sub-order I. MEsITEs.—Without basipterygoid processes, and with large spina interna. Mesites, Madagascar. Sub-order 2. TURNICES.—Hemipodes or button-quails. Nidifugous; vomer large; sternum without processus obliqui. Hallux absent or vestigial. Old World. Turnix, Pedionomus. Sub-order 3. GALLI.—With large spina communis, and with large processus obliqui. Hallux functional. Mega- podiidae, Australian region. Cracidae, curassows and guans, neotropical. Gallidae, cosmopolitan. Sub-order 4. OPIsTUocoMI.—Arboreal, with long spina externa; without basipterygoid processes. Opisthocomus hoatzin, Guiana, Venezuela and Amazon countries. so. Order Gruiformes. Legs of the wading type. Without basipterygoid processes. Without spina interna. Nidifugous. Essentially schizognathous. Ralhdae, cosmopolitan, since Oligocene. Rallus, Fulica, Ocydromus, &c., Gallinula nesiotis, Tristan d'Acunha, flightless. Notornis, New Zealand, flight-less, nearly extinct. Aptornis, New Zealand, flightless, extinct. Aphanapteryx (Mauritius) = Erythromachus (Rodriguez) = Diaphorapteryx (Chatham Island), flightless and recently extinct. Gypsornis, upper Eocene, France. Gruidae, cranes, cosmopolitan, allied Phororhacos, Tertiary of Argentina. Dicholophidae, cariamas, neotropical. Otididae, bustards, Old World. Rhinochetidae, kagus, New Caledonia. Eurypygidae, sun-bittern, neotropical. Heliornithidae, finfoots, tropical. I t. Order Charadriiformes.—Schizognathous. With eleven remiges, of which the terminal very short. Aquinto-cubital. Spinae sterni short, separate. Sub-order 1. LIMIcoLAE.—Nidifugous, without spina interna sterni. Hypotarsus complicated. Charadrisdae, plovers. Chionididae, sheath-bill. Glareolidae, wading swallows and coursers. Thinocorythidae, seed-snipes. Oedicnemididae, thick-knees. Parridae. Sub-order 2. LARI.—Aquatic, vomer complete. Without basipterygoid processes. Front toes webbed; hallux small or absent. Large supraorbital glands. Since Miocene. Laridae, gulls, cosmopolitan. Alcidae, auks, northern half of periarctic region. Sub-order 3. PTERocLEs.—Sand-grouse. Nidifugous. Vomer vestigial. With large crop and caeca. Hallux vestigial or absent since Oligocene. Africa to India, and Siberia. Pterocles and Syrrhaptes. Sub-order 4. COLUMBAE.—Pigeons. Nidicolous. Vomer vestigial. With large crop, vestigial caeca. Columbidae, cosmopolitan, since Miocene. Dididae, flightless, recently extinct. Did us, dodo, Mauritius. Pezophaps, solitaire, Rodriguez. 12. Order Cuculiformes.—Desmognathous, nidicolous; zygodactylous, or with the outer toe reversible. Sub-order t. Comm.—Cuckoos. Quinto-cubital. Cuculidae, cosmopolitan. Musophagidae, plantain-eaters and touracos, Ethiopian since Miocene. Sub-order 2. PSITTACI.—Parrots. Zygodactylous; aquintocubital. Cosmopolitan, chiefly tropical. Trichoglossidae, lories, Austro-Malayan. Nestor, New Zealand. Cyclopsittacus, Eos, Lorius, &c. Psittacidae, tongue smooth, incl. Stringops. 13. Order Coraciiformes.—Nidicolous. Nares imperviae, holorhinal. Downs restricted to the apteria or absent. Thirteen to fifteen cervical vertebrae. Mostly desmognathous. Deep plantar tendons connected with each other. Sub-order I. CoRACIAE.—Either (I) with long spina externa sterni, Coraciidae, rollers, Old World. Momotidae, neotropical, motmots and todies. Alcedinidae, king-fishers, cosmopolitan or (2) with long spina communis. Meropidae, bee-eaters, Old World. Upupidae, Upupinae, hoopoes: palaearctic and palaeotropical. Bucerotinae, hornbills, palaeotropical; Irrisorinae, woodhoopoes, Ethiopian. Sub-order 2. STRIGES.—Owls. Outer toe reversible. Schizognathous. Long caeca. Flexor tendons normal. Hypotarsus simple. Cosmopolitan. Sub-order. 3, CAPRIMuLGI.—Nightjars. Nocturnal. With gaping mouth. Ten remiges and ten rectrices. Spinae sterni vestigial. Caeca functional. Steatornithidae, Steatornis, oil-bird or guacharo, South America. Podargidae, Australasian, Caprimulgidae, cosmopolitan. Sub-order 4. CYPsELI.—Tenth terminal remex the longest. With short spinae sterni. Without caeca. Cypselidae, swifts, cosmopolitan. Trochilidae, humming-birds, American. Sub-order 5. CoLII.—Mouse-birds. First and fourth toes reversible. Ethiopian. Sub-order 6. TROGONES.—Trogons. Heterodactyle, first and second toes directed forwards, third and fourth backwards. Tropical. Trogon gallicus, Miocene of France. Sub-order 7. PIc1.—Zygodactylous. Tendon of the flexor hallucis longus muscle sending a strong vinculum to that of the flexor profundus muscle, the tendon of which goes to the third toe only. Galbulidae, puff-birds and jacamars, neotropical. Capilonidae, barbets, tropical. Rhamphastidae, toucans, neotropical. Picidae, wood-peckers, cosmopolitan, excepting Madagascar and Australian region. 14. Order Passeriformes.—Nidicolous. Aegithognathous, without basipterygoid processes. Spina externa sterni large, spina interna absent. Quinto-cubital, toes normal. Apparently since the upper Eocene. Sub-order I. PASSERES ANISOMYODAE.—SyrinX muscles entirely lateral or attached to the dorsal or ventral corners of the bronchial semi-rings. (i) Subclamatores. Deep plantar tendons connected by a vinculum. Eurylaemidae, broad-bills, Indian and Indo-Malayan. (2) Clamatores. Deep flexor tendons not connected. Pittidae, palaeotropical. Xenicidae, New Zealand. Tyrannidae, American, Formicariidae, Pteroptochidae, neotropical. Sub-order 2. PASSERES DIACROMYODAE.—Syrinx muscles of either side attached to the dorsal and ventral corners of the rings. Hallux strong, with a large claw. (i) Suboscines with Menura, lyre-bird, and Atrichia, scrub-bird, in Australia. (2) Oscines, the true singing-birds, with more than 5000 recent species, are mostly divided into some thirty " families," few of which can be defined. The fourteen orders of the Carinatae are further congregated into four "Legions":- 1. COLYMBOMORPHAE = Ichthyornithes + Colymbiformes + Sphenisciformes + Procellariiformes. II. PELARGOMORPHAE = Ciconiiformes + Anseriformes + Falconiformes. IV. CORACIOMORPHAE = Cuculiformes + Coraciiformes + Passeriformes. These four legions are again combined into two " Brigades," the first of which comprises the first and second legions, while the second brigade contains the third and fourth legions. Thus the whole classification becomes a rounded-off phylogenetic system, which, at least in its broad outlines, seems to approach the natural system, the ideal goal of the scientific ornithologist. The main branches of the resultant " tree " may be rendered as follows: CORACIOMORPHAE +
End of Article: CLASS

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