Birds of the World

COAST BIRDS
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WORLD BIRDS
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ANECDOTES

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TRAITS
 Ratites
 Tinamous
 Cracids/Galli
 Waterfowl
   Screamers
   Ducks

 Penguins
 Loons
 Grebes
 Procellarids
   Albatrosses
   Petrels
   Storm-Petrels

Totipalmate Swm

   Tropicbirds
   Gannets/Boobies
   Pelicans
   Cormorants
   Anhingas
   Frigatebirds

 
Waders
   Herons
   Ibises
   Storks  

 NW Vultures
 Flamingos
 Raptors
 Gruiformes
   Buttonquail
   Bustards
   Cranes
   Rails

 Shorebirds
   Sandgrouse
   Plovers
   Oystercatchers
   Stilts
   Sandpipers
   Gulls/Terns
   Auks

 Pigeons
 Parrots
 Turacos
 Cuckoos
 Owls
 Frogmouths
 Nightjars
 Swifts/Humbd
 Colies
 Coraciae

   Hornbills
   Hoopoes
   Trogons
   Rollers
   Kingfishers
   Bee-eaters
   Jacamars/Puffbd

 
Pici
   Honeyguides
   Woodpeckers
   Barbets/Toucans

PASSERINES
   NZ WRENS
   OW SUBOSC

      Broadbills
      Pittas

 NW SUBOSC
   NW Flycatchers

   Becards
   Cotingas
   Manakins
   Antbirds
   Ovenbirds
   Woodcreepers
   Antthrushes
   Tapaculos 

 OSCINES
 Lyre-/Scrub-birds
 Bowerbirds
 Aust. Wrens
 Honeyeaters
 Scrubwrens
 Aust. Robins
 Kinglets
 Shrikes
 Vireos
 Whistlers
 Corvids
 Birds-of-Paradse
 OW Orioles
 Cuckoo-shrikes
 Fantails
 Drongos
 Monarchs
 Bush-shrikes
 Wattle-eyes
 Vangas
 Waxwings
 Dippers
 Thrushes
 OW Flycatchers
 Starlings
 Mimids
 Nuthatches
 N Creepers
 Wrens
 Gnatcatchers
 Tits/Parids
 Larks
 Swallows
 Leaf-Warblers
 Bulbuls
 Cisticolas
 White-eyes
 Babblers
 OW Warblers
 Flowerpeckers
 Sunbirds
 OW Sparrows
 Accentors
 Pipits
 Estridids
 Weavers
 Whydahs
 9-prim. Oscines

   Fringillines
   Carduelines
   Hawaiian Honycrp
   NW Sparrows
   NW Warblers
   Tanagers
   Cardinals
   NW Blackbirds

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TRAITS
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Skeletal Features
  Palatal Structure
  External Nares
  Nasal Bones
  Columella
  Cervical Vertebrae
  Sternum

Legs and Feet
  Tarsometarsus
  Toes
  Feet
Development
Internal Features
  Supraorbital Gland
  Syrinx
  Intestinal Convolutions
  Intestinal Caeca
  Carotid Arteries
  Thigh Artery
Feathers and Skin
  Pterylosis
  Aftershaft
  Natal Down
  Number of Flight Feathers
  Wing Formula
  Fifth Secondary
  Powder Down
  Oil (Uropygial) Gland
  Rhamphotheca
Muscular Features
  Pelvic Musculature
  Deep Plantar Tendons
  Jaw Muscles
  Other Muscles
Other Features
   
 

Muscular Features

   
  Pelvic Musculature  
  Garrod (1873, 1874) proposed that the presence of absence of certain thigh muscles had phylogenetic implications.  These muscles are the
   A  Femoral-caudal (piriformis pars caudofemoralis)
   B  Accessory femoral-caudal (piriformis pars
        iliofemoralis)
   X  Semitendinosus (flexor cruris lateralis)
   Y  Accessory semitendeninosus
The presence or absence of the ambiens was indicated by a plus or minus sign (+ or -).

Subsequent authors have added the following muscles for consideration:
   Am = Ambiens
   E = Iliacus
   F = Plantaris
   G = Popliteus
   M = Peroneus longus
   N = Peroneus brevis

The diagram adds the
   C = Iliotrochantericus medius
   D  = Piriformis (gluteus medius et maximus)
   V = Vinculum (see above) - joins the tendons of the flexor perforatus digiti III and flexor
          perforans et perforatus digiti III). (See below.) Hudson (1937).

Subsequent authors have found additional muscles (13 or so) that may be useful diagnostically and you may find them in some descriptions. From Sibley, 1955.

Pelvic muscles
  © University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology
  Deep Plantar Tendons
  All birds have two deep flexor muscles of the toes (muscles that close the digits of the foot), the flexor hallucis longus and flexor digitorum longus. The body of these muscles lie in the leg in the tibiotarsus with their tendons passing down the posterior surface of the tarsometatarsus (distinguished because the flexor hallucis longus is superficial to the flexor digitorum longus). In all passerines (except broadbills) these tendons are separate. In others, however, they are attached by a fibrous vinculum. After Garrod (1875), several patterns are recognized.

   Type 1
. Flexor hallucis longus tendon inserts on the hallux (1); the flexor digitorum longus trifurcates, sending branches to the other three toes. The vinculum (shaded) connects these tendons so the flexor hallucis longus muscle aids in flexing all toes (promoting perching). This pattern is found in a number of non-passerines including waders, galli, many rails, shorebirds, parrots, etc.
Plantar Tendons
   Type 2. The flexor hallucis longus tendon becomes the vinculum and fused wtih the tendon of the flexor digitorum longus muscle - a small part inserts on the hallux. This pattern is found in penguines, tinamous, totipalmate swimmers, and waterfowl.
     Type 3. Both deep plantor tendons are fused throughout much of the tarsometatarsus but the vinculum passes from the hallucis tendon to the branch of the flexor digitorum longus going to digit II only. Found in the Secretary-bird, accipiters, and Falco (a raptorial adaptation).  
Rewrawn from Sibley, 1955.
 

   Type 4. Both tendons fuse and send branches to toes 2-4 but not to the hallux (1). Found in birds with three toes or those with a small hallux (ratites, loons, grebes, tube-nosed swimmers, flamingos, and some others).

   Type 5. The entire tendons fuse and give rise to 4 branches to all 4 toes. Found in Fregata, Cathartidae, Pandion, Chordeiles, Chaetura, Apus, Colius, Buceros and Aceros plus others with some variation in the pattern.
   Type 6. The tendon of M. flexor digitorum longus is reinforced by a vinculum and inserts on digit 3 only. The tendon of M. flexor halluxis longus sends a vinculum to the digitorum tendon and branches to insert on the halllux and on digits 2 and 4. The pattern is found only in Picififormes (several families).
   Type 7 The deep plantar tendons are independent throughout - there is no vinculum. The flexor hallucis tendon inserts on the hallux only. The flexor digitorum trifurcates and inserts on digits 2, 3, and 4. Found in most passerines.
 
  Jaw Muscles
  Beecher, W. J. 1953, A phylogeny of the oscines. Auk 70: 270-333. Beecher attempted to arrange the song birds using differences in their jaw musculature. (This paper can be accessed via SORA)
 
  Other Muscles
  Tensor patagii muscles. The muscle deltoideus major gives rise to two muscular slips, the muscles tensor patagii longus and tensor patagii brevis. In passerines the two are separate but in others there is a single belly arising from the furcula. In either case there are two tendons, one running along the leading edge of the patagium (skin fold in the wing) and one inserting on some part of the muscles or bones of the forearm. These anatomical features have not received much attention this century.
  Biceps slip. This is a fleshy cluster from the muscle biceps brachii which inserts on the tendon of the muscle tensor patagii longus. It has been reported in loons, grebes, procellariids, waterfowl, rail-like birds, charadriids and doves and some other non-passerine groups.
  Expansor secundariorum muscle. In passerines and some non-passerines, it arises by a tendon from the humerus. In other non-passerines, there are two tendons, one attaching to the humerus, the other to the pectoral girdle. The belly inserts on the quills of 2 or more secondaries
 
 

Other Features

     Behavioral characteristics such as head scratching, dust and water bathing, holding food with the foot, preening behavior, song, agonistic behavior, hopping vs. running, scratching, digging, etc., all have been used to provide suggestions about affinities.
     Life history phenomena such as pair-bond formation and duration, nest/bower construction, courtship display, incubation time, parental care of eggs and young, nest sanitation, migration, etc. also have been used to highlight a variety of relationships.
     Increasingly, however, genetic analyses are yielding the most useful information. Interpreting them may pose difficulties but we are probably much closer to being able to produce natural classifications now than in the past.