Birds Sentence Examples
The small birds were singing softly.
Every year birds built a nest there.
And the baby birds have their mouths open like this.
There are also many kinds of game birds, pigeons, ducks, geese, plovers and quails.
Throughout Britain, as a rule, this species is one of the most plentiful birds, and is found at all seasons of the year.Advertisement
Of wild animals may be noted the moufflon (Ovis Ammon), the stag, and the wild boar, and among birds various species of the vulture and eagle in the mountains, and the pelican and flamingo (the latter coming in August in large flocks from Africa) in the lagoons.
In other respects the difference between the two birds seems to be immaterial.
I know owls don't sing, but I didn't like the song birds as well as this guy.
Prominent among a great variety of song-birds and insectivorous birds are the robin, blue bird, cat bird, sparrows, meadow-lark, bobolink, thrushes, chickadee, wrens, brown thrasher, gold finch, cedar wax-wing, flycatchers, nuthatches, flicker (golden-winged woodpecker), downy and hairy woodpeckers, rose-breasted grosbeak, Baltimore oriole, barnswallow, chimney swift, purple martin, purple finch (linnet), vireos and several species of warblers.
Dad's response had been that they had lots of birds outside and they had chickens.Advertisement
In some birds, such as the herons, certain down-feathers or plumulae break off into a fine dust as fast as they are formed and form tracts defined in size and situation and known as "powder-down patches."
He obtains a magic glass cage, yoked with eight griffins, flies through the clouds, and, thanks to enchanters who know the language of birds, gets information as to their manners and customs, and ultimately receives their submission.
Hares, rabbits, field-mice, waterrats, rats, squirrels, moles, game-birds, pigeons, and small birds, form the chief food of the wild cat.
In almost all climes the tortoise and the frog are among the precursors and heralds of this season, and birds fly with song and glancing plumage, and plants spring and bloom, and winds blow, to correct this slight oscillation of the poles and preserve the equilibrium of nature.
For birds it is chiefly used of geese; and for other animals most generally of sheep and goats.Advertisement
In spite of his love of music, no pocket recorder filled Dean's head with voices, strings or horns through tiny toy earphones— he'd leave that to the bikers who pedaled unaware of the sounds of birds and springtime around them.
As birds migrate to somewhere beyond the sea, so these men with their wives and children streamed to the southeast, to parts where none of them had ever been.
The sound came again, the cry of someone who was hurt. Katie wiped her eyes. She was drenched with rain and curled against the large root of a tree. The birds of the jungle made screaming sounds, but this was different. This was human.
Ducks, cranes and other aquatic birds abound in the delta.
Two other baby birds were there, that had not fallen out.Advertisement
Then they began to wander merrily about searching for nuts, climbing trees, peeping curiously into the empty birds' nests, and playing hide and seek from behind the trees.
A large variety of materials have been used in their manufacture by different peoples at different times - painted linen and shavings of stained horn by the Egyptians, gold and silver by the Romans, rice-paper by the Chinese, silkworm cocoons in Italy, the plumage of highly coloured birds in South America, wax, small tinted shells, &c. At the beginning of the 8th century the French, who originally learnt the art from the Italians, made great advances in the accuracy of their reproductions, and towards the end of that century the Paris manufacturers enjoyed a world-wide reputation.
This region abounds in big game and birds are plentiful.
He heard the birds singing.
Little birds and chickens come out of eggs.Advertisement
The cock, in his plumage of yellowish-green and yellow is one of the most finely coloured of common English birds, but he is rather heavily built, and his song is hardly commended.
Bonaparte and Professor Schlegel (1850), though it excludes many birds which an English writer would call "grosbeaks."
All birds have, like most reptiles, a well-developed third lid or "nictitating membrane," which moves from the inner canthus obliquely upwards and backwards over the cornea.
He was quite aware of the taxonomic value of the vocal organs of some groups of birds, presently to be especially mentioned, and he had himself ascertained the presence and absence of caeca in a not inconsiderable number of groups, drawing thence very justifiable inferences.
The birds flew to their nests.
The snakelike branches overhead were creepier when she could see them in daylight, and the few birds and insects she saw made her shudder. The sense of being followed didn't leave even in the full light of day.
The trees overhead rustled, and Toby yanked away, staring. Katie saw shadows but nothing else. Even so, she doubted these were the freaky underworld birds.
There are few birds which have more exercised the taxonomer than this, and the reason seems to be plain.
The ruffed grouse (or "partridge") is the most common of game birds, but woodcock, ducks and geese are quite common.
Besides some occasional references in the text, only a few more of the general works dealing with the distribution of birds can here be mentioned.
In 1828 Fleming brought out his History of British Animals (8vo), in which the birds are treated at considerable length (pp. 41-146), though not with great success.
Yet it was regarded " as being the one which facilitates the expression of the leading anatomical differences which obtain in the class of birds, and which therefore may be considered as the most natural."
Its line to some extent may be partly made out - very clearly, for the matter of that, so far as its details have been published in the series of papers to which reference has been given - and some traces of its features are probably preserved in his Catalogue of the specimens of birds in the museum of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, which, after several years of severe labour, made its appearance at Calcutta in 1849; but, from the time of his arrival in India, the onerous duties imposed upon Blyth, together with the want of sufficient books of reference, seem to have hindered him from seriously continuing his former researches, which, interrupted as they were, and born out of due time, had no appreciable effect on the views of systematisers generally.
To begin with, 1 Though not relating exactly to our present theme, it would be improper to dismiss Nitzsch's name without reference to his extraordinary labours in investigating the insect and other external parasites of birds, a subject which as regards British species was subsequently elaborated by Denny in his Monographia Anoplurorum Britanniae (1842) and in his list of the specimens of British Anoplura in the collection of the British Museum.
Instead of recognizing, as before, a subclass in the Ratitae of Merrem, Nitzsch now reduced them to the rank of an order under the name " Platysternae," placing them between the " Gallinaceae " and " Grallae," though admitting that in their pterylosis they differ from all other birds, in ways that he is at great pains to describe, in each of the four genera examined by him - Struthio, Rhea, Dromaeus and Casuarius.
Nitzsch had of course exhausted all the forms of birds commonly to be obtained, and specimens of the less common forms were too valuable from the curator's or collector's point of view to be subjected to a treatment that might end in their destruction.
While furnishing - almost unconsciously, however - additional evidence for overthrowing that classification, there is, nevertheless, no attempt made to construct a better one; and the elaborate tables of dimensions, both absolute and proportional, suggestive as is the whole tendency of the author's observations, seem not to lead to any very practical result, though the systematist's need to look beneath the integument, even in parts that are so comparatively little hidden as birds' feet, is once more made beyond all question apparent.
As has been stated, the first of this series of anatomical descriptions appeared in the fourth volume of his work, published in 1838, but they were continued until its completion with the fifth volume in the following year, and the whole was incorporated into what may be termed its second edition, The Birds of America, which appeared between 1840 and 1844.
In all these species he found the vocal organs to differ essentially in structure from those of other birds of the Old World, which we now call Passerine, or, to be still more precise, Oscinian.
These laws, he added, exist in regard to all parts that offer characters fit for the methodical arrangement of birds, but it is in regard to the anterior palatal bone that they unquestionably offer the most evidence.
He of course knew the investigations of L'Herminier and De Blainville on sternal formation, and he also seems to have been aware of some pterylological differences exhibited by birds - whether those of Nitzsch or those of Jacquemin is not stated.
The same year which saw the promulgation of the crude scheme just described, as well as the publication of the final researches of Muller, witnessed also another attempt at the classification of birds, much more limited indeed in scope, but, so far as it went, regarded by most ornithologists of the time as almost final in its operation.
Aello and Ocypete, daughters of Thaumas and Electra, winged goddesses with beautiful locks, swifter than winds and birds in their flight, and their domain is the air.
These birds were of enormous size, and reminded Zeb of the rocs he had read about in the Arabian Nights.
Instead of singing like the birds, I silently smiled at my incessant good fortune.
He did not sing like a trained singer who knows he is listened to, but like the birds, evidently giving vent to the sounds in the same way that one stretches oneself or walks about to get rid of stiffness, and the sounds were always high-pitched, mournful, delicate, and almost feminine, and his face at such times was very serious.
She pulled the lawn chair into the shade under a tree and stretched out, closing her eyes and simply listening to the birds.
Finally, he broke through the thatch of branches and leaves blocking most of the sun. The day was darkening. In the distance, he saw the massive fortress that was Death's, and he saw the Lake of Souls he'd seen in angel memories. He saw birds but couldn't see through the jungle to where Katie might be. The branch holding him swayed in a heavy wind that smelled of rain.
It's just such a nice day that I thought I'd come out and listen to the birds.
All Siphonaptera, of which more than loo species are known, are parasitic on mammals or birds.
Immense flocks of gulls were probably attracted to it then as now by its insect life, and its lagoons and streams teemed with aquatic birds.
Among the plants the wild banana, pepper, orange and mangosteen, rhododendron, epiphytic orchids and the palm; among mammals the bats and rats; among birds the cassowary and rifle birds; and among reptiles the crocodile and tree snakes, characterize this element.
Australia, he pointed out, has no woodpeckers and no pheasants, which are widely-spread Indian birds.
We pass on to the other curious order of non-placental mammals, that of the Monotremata, so called from the structure of their organs of evacuation with a single orifice, as in birds.
The Triballi are described as a wild and warlike people (Isocrates, Panathenaicus, 227), and in Aristophanes (Birds, 1565-1693) a Triballian is introduced as a specimen of an uncivilized barbarian.
His preaching to the birds is a favourite representation of St Francis in art.
Not to speak of insects which feed upon the pitcher itself, some drop their eggs into the putrescent mass, where their larvae find abundant nourishment, while birds often slit open the pitchers with their beaks and devour the maggots in their turn.
The birds are similar to those of central Europe; in the mountains vultures, eagles, buzzards, kites, falcons and hawks are found.
Partridges, woodcock, snipe, &c., are among the game-birds; but all kinds of small birds are also shot for food, and their number is thus kept down, while many members of the migratory species are caught by traps in the foothills on the south side of the Alps, especially near the Lake of Como, on their passage.
Most of the birds also are derived from the distant Indian region, while the IndoBurmese and Indo-Malayan regions are represented to a far less degree.
Rasorial birds, such as peafowl, junglefowl, pheasants and partridges, though well represented in the Arakan hills, are rare in the islands; while a third of the different species found are peculiar to the Andamans.
Pregnant hints are given respecting a natural development of language which has its germs in sounds of quadrupeds and birds, of religious ideas out of dreams and waking hallucinations, and of the art of music by help of the suggestion of natural sounds.
In habits some of the species are nocturnal and others diurnal; but all subsist on a mixed diet, which includes birds, reptiles, eggs, insects and fruits.
He had wonderful gifts of insight, and spoke to the birds.
The Vertebrata come within the scope of our subject, chiefly as destructive agents which cause wounds or devour young shoots and foliage, &c. Rabbits and other burrowing animals injure roots, squirrels and birds snip off buds, horned cattle strip off bark, and so forth.
Worms bring spores to the surface of soil, ducks and other birds convey them on their muddy feet.
Witches-brooms are the tufted bunches of twigs found on silver firs, birches and other trees, and often present resemblances to birds nests or clumps of mistletoe if only seen from a distance.
Birds are even more effective than wind in transporting seeds to long distances.
This cannot apparently be done for insects or foi birds; Newton accordingly unites the two into the Holarctic region.
Sclater have been found to hold good for a large number of groups of animals as different in their mode of life as birds and mammals, and they may thus be accepted as based on nature.
The scope of the anatomical part of the following article is a general account of the structure of birds (A y es) in so far as they, as a class, differ from other vertebrates, notably reptiles and mammals, whilst features especially characteristic, peculiar or unique, have been dwelt upon at greater length so far as space permitted.
In this article (A) the general anatomy of birds is discussed, (B) fossil birds, (c) the geographical distribution.
The opisthotic lies between the epiotic and the lateral occipital with which it ultimately fuses; in some birds, e.g.
Many birds possess a more or less well developed cross-joint in front of the frontals and lacrymals, perhaps best developed in Anseres and Psittaci.
Huxley, in 1868, divided the carinate birds into Dromaeo-, Schizo-, Desmo-, and Aegithognathae, an arrangement which for many years had a considerable influence upon classification.
The greater part of the under-jaw is formed by the right and left dentaries, which in all recent birds are fused together in front.
Like the crocodiles, birds possess a siphonium, i.e.
The Hyoid apparatus is, in its detail, subject to many variations in accord with the very diverse uses to which the tongue of birds is III.
As the most developed pair in birds they are com monly, although wrongly, called the hyoid horns.
This is the most perfect arrangement attained by the vertebral column, and is typical of, and restricted to, birds.
In birds we distinguish between the following regions of the axial skeleton.
The term " lumbar " vertebrae is inapplicable to birds.
In many birds some of the thoracic vertebrae are more or less coOssified, in most pigeons for instance the 15th to 17th; in most Galli the last cervical and the next three or four thoracics are coalesced, &c. The pelvic vertebrae include of course the sacrum.
The lateral process in most birds sends out an outgrowth, directed out and upwards, overlapping some of the ribs, the processus obliquus.
The keel has been lost, and is being lost, at various epochs and by various groups of birds.
In most birds the feet of the coracoids do not touch each other; in some groups they meet, in others one overlaps the other, the right lying ventrally upon the left.
This is a peculiar character of all birds.
In birds of various groups the clavicles are more or less degenerated, the reduction beginning at the distal end.
The humerus with its crests, ridges and processes, presents so many modifications characteristic of the various groups of birds, that its configuration alone is not only of considerable taxonomic value but that almost any genus, excepting, of course, those of Passeres, can be " spotted " by a close examination and comparison of this bone.
These are reduced, in all birds, to three, but traces of the fourth have been observed in embryos.
It is absolutely certain that the wings of the Ratitae bear the strongest testimony that they are the descendants of typical flying birds.
Consequently the ankle-joint of birds is absolutely cruro-tarsal and tarso-metatarsal, i.e.
Of the metatarsals the fifth occurs as an embryonic vestige near the joint; the first is reduced to its distal portion, and is, with the hallux, shoved on to the inner and posterior side of the foot, at least in the majority of birds.
The three middle metatarsals become fused together into a cannon bone; the upper part of the third middle metatarsal projects behind and forms the so-called hypotarsus, which in various ways, characteristic of the different groups of birds (with one or more sulci, grooved or perforated), acts as guiding pulley to the tendons of the flexor muscles of the toes.
Reduction of the number of toes (the fifth shows no traces whatever, not even in Archaeopteryx) begins with the hallux, which is completely or partly absent in many birds; the second toe is absent in Struthio only.
Thus it has come to pass that the muscles of the hind limbs are, like their framework, more easily compared with those of reptiles and mammals than are the wings, whilst within the class of birds they show an enormous amount of variation in direct correlation with their manifold requirements.
He was, however, the first to show clearly that the Ratitae are the retrograde descendants of flying ancestors, that the various groups of surviving Ratitae are, as such, a polyphyletic group, and he has gone fully into the interesting question of the development and subsequent loss of the power of flight, a loss which has taken place not only in different orders of birds but also at various geological periods, and is still taking place.
There are many perching birds, e.g.
Garrod went so far as to divide all the birds into Homalogonatae and Anomalogonatae, according to the presence or absence of the ambiens muscle.
Of course this doubleheaded condition is the more primitive, and as such exists in most nidifugous birds, but in many of these, as well as in many nidicolous birds, either the caudal or the iliac head is absent, and in a very few (Cancroma, Dicholophus, Steatornis and some Cathartes) the whole muscle is absent.
He was, indeed, the first to show clearly the relationship of the heron-like birds with the Steganopodes; of storklike birds with the American vultures; the great difference between the latter and the other birds of prey; the connexion of the gulls and auks with the plovers, and that of the sand-grouse with the From Newton's FIG.
These are instances, now well understood, that almost every organic system, even when studied by itself, may yield valuable indications as to the natural affinities of the various groups of birds.
That Garrod has so very much advanced the classification of birds is ultimately due to his comprehensive anatomical knowledge and general insight.
There is very little grey matter in the cortex of the hemispheres, the surface of which is devoid of convolutions, mostly quite smooth; in others, for instance pigeons, fowls and birds of prey, a very slight furrow might be compared with the Sylvian fissure.
In birds, this stalk consists entirely of blood-vessels, which in the adult enclose no terminal vesicle, and fuse with the membranous linings of the skull.
Several futile attempts have been made to draw conclusions as to the intelligence of various birds.
The first is generally composed of three nerves, the hindmost of which, the furcalis, issues in most birds between the last two lumbo-sacral vertebrae, and then divides, one half going to the crural, the other to the sciatic portions.
The last nerve which contributes to the ischiadic plexus leaves the spinal column in most birds either between the two primary sacral vertebrae, or just below the hindmost of them, and sends a branch to the pubic portion which is composed of post-ischiadic nerves, partly imbedded in the kidneys, and innervates the ventral muscles between the tail and pubis, together with those of the cloaca and copulatory organs.
The iris is in most young birds at first brown or dull-coloured, but with maturity attains often very bright tints which add considerably to the charm of the bird; sexual dimorphism is in this respect of common occurrence.
When fully dilated, the pupil is round in all birds; when contracted it is usually round, rarely oval as in the fowl.
Many birds possess besides this temporal fovea a second fovea nearer the nasal side.
Consequently the whole field of vision of these birds possesses three points where vision is most acute.
There is, in birds, no annulus tympanicus.
Birds possess an ear-muscle which at least acts as a tensor tympani; it arises near the occipital condyle, passes through a hole into the tympanic cavity, and its tendon is, in various ways, attached to the inside of the membrane and the neighbouring extracolumellar processes.
Although the scala tympani is so rudimentary, not reaching a higher level than in most of the reptiles, and remaining far below the mammalia, birds do not only hear extremely well, but they distinguish between and " understand " pitch, notes and melodies.
The olfactory organ is poorly developed, and it is still a question whether birds possess much power of smell; many are certainly devoid of it.
The blood leaves the heart past three semi-lunar valves, by the right aorta, this being alone functional, a feature characteristic of, and peculiar to, birds.
Highly specialized air-sacs are characteristic of all birds.
They assist in the extremely rapid and vigorous ventilation of the lungs, the latter being capable of but very limited expansion and contraction in birds.
In some of those birds which have a peculiarly harsh or trumpeting voice, the trachea is lengthened, forming loops which lie subcutaneously (capercally, curassow), or it enters and dilates the symphysis of the furcula (crested guineafowl); or, e.g.
The majority of birds possess a pair of internal tympaniform membranes forming the inner or median walls of the bronchi, which are there furnished with semi-rings only.
But indications of such a syrinx occur also in Pittidae, pigeons and gallinaceous birds (Gallidae), the last cases being clearly analogous.
The former is morphologically the more primitive condition, and is found in the overwhelming majority of birds, including many Passeriformes.
A similar rotation and dislocation occurs in various petrels, in correlation with the indigestible sepia-bills, &c., which these birds swallow in great quantities.
The gizzard of various birds which are addicted to eating hairy caterpillars, e.g.
It lodges the copulatory organ, and on its dorsal wall lies the bursa Fabricii, an organ peculiar to birds.
In the great majority of birds it has disappeared completely and the primitive way of everting the cloaca is resorted to.
During the breeding season many more eggs are developed than reach maturity, amounting in most birds to several dozens.
In young birds both oviducts are almost equal in size, but the right soon degenerates into an insignificant strand.
Fossil Birds Much had naturally been expected from the study of fossil birds, but, so far as the making of classifications is concerned, they have proved rather a source of perplexities.
So long as the characters of new fossils are only of specific and generic value, it is mostly possible to assign the birds to their proper place, but when these characters indicate new families or orders, for instance Hesperornithes, Ichthyornithes, Palaelodi, their owners are put outside the more tersely constructed classifications applicable to modern birds.
The key to the distribution of recent groups lies in that of the extinct forms. Not only have many absolutely new families been discovered, but many kinds of modern birds are now known to have existed also in countries which they are now extinct.
The most important result is the proof that, until the end of the Cretaceous epoch, most, if not all, birds were still possessed of teeth.
A wide gap separates Archaeopteryx from the next order of fossil birds of the Cretaceous epoch, and, since freshwater deposits of that age are rare, bird remains are uncommon.
Many bones formerly referred to birds have since proved to belong to Pterodactyls, e.g.
They were placed by Marsh in a distinct subclass of birds,Odontornithes.
Probably all birds of Cretaceous age were still possessed of teeth.
Baptornis, another of Marsh's genera, seems to be allied to Enaliornis, Palaeotringa and Talmatornis, were by him referred to Limicoline and Passerine birds.
Much difference of opinion obtains as to the affinities of these birds, which were far larger than an ostrich; they were undoubtedly incapable of flight and there are indications of teeth in the upper jaw.
The upper Eocene has yielded many birds, most of which are at least close forerunners of recent genera, the differentiation into the leading orders and families being already well marked, e.g.
The existing genera include Anas, Aquila, Bubo, Columba, Cypselus, Lanius, Picus, Phalacrocorax, Sula, &c. Very interesting is the fact that Serpentarius, Psittacus and Trogon are amongst this list of birds, which are now restricted to the tropics.
Mercerat, who proposed for them the name of Stereornithes, a new order of birds, mostly gigantic in size, and said to combine the characters of Anseres, Herodiones and Accipitres.
Many of these birds, to judge from the enormous size of their hind-limbs, were undoubtedly flightless, e.g.
Most Pleistocene birds are generically, even specifically, identical with recent forms; some, however, have become extinct, or they have become exterminated by man.
A great number of birds' bones have been found in caves, and among them some bearing marks of human workmanship. In France we have a large and extinct crane, Grus primigenia, but more interesting are the numerous relics of two species, the concomitants even now of the reindeer, which were abundant in that country at the period when this beast flourished there,and have followed it in its northward retreat.
Until a very recent epoch there flourished in Madagascar huge birds referable to the Ratitae, e.g.
New Zealand has also yielded many flightless birds, notably the numerous species and genera of Dinornithidae, some of which survived into the 19th century; Pseudapteryx allied to the Kiwi; Cnemiornis, a big, flightless goose; Aptornis and Notornis, flightless rails; and Harpagornis, a truly gigantic bird of prey with tremendous wings and talons.
It is, of course, quite impossible, in a survey of extinct birds, to divide them into those which are bona fide fossil, sub-fossil, recently extirpated and partially exterminated.
Like other creatures birds have come, some to flourish and stay, others to die out.
Granting this is a general truth, it must yet be acknowledged as a special fact, that in fossil birds we have as yet but scanty means of arriving at any precise results which will justify bold generalization in the matter of avine distribution.
Remains of extinct birds are, compared with those of other classes of vertebrates, exceedingly scarce, and these have been found in very few, widely separated countries.
The great problems involved in the study of geographical distribution must therefore be based mainly upon the other classes, both vertebrate and invertebrate, which, moreover, enjoy less great facilities of locomotion than the birds.
Yet it so happens that the great zoogeographical regions of the world, now more or less generally accepted, have been based upon the distribution of birds.
Birds being of all animals most particularly adapted for extended and rapid locomotion, it became necessary for him to eliminate from his consideration those groups, be they small or large, which are of more or less universal occurrence, and to ground his results on what was at that time commonly known as the order Insessores or Passeres, comprehending the orders now differentiated as Passeriformes, Coraciiformes and Cuculiformes, in other words the mass of arboreal birds.
Especial attention has to be drawn to the article " Geographical Distribution," in Newton's Dictionary of Birds.
The numbers of genera and species of birds are, of course, a matter of personal inclination.
Sharpe increases their number to about 15,000 in the New Hand-List of Birds, published by the British Museum.
In the first two volumes fossil birds, occasionally based upon a fragmentary bone only, are also included.
The most extraordinary feature is unquestionably the former existence of the gigantic Dinornithes or moas and, another family of Ratitae, the weird-looking kiwis or Apteryges, which are totally unlike any other existing birds.
The gallinaceous birds are represented by a quail, Coturnix novae zealandiae, now exterminated.
There are a raven (Corvus), a coot (Fulica), the well-known Sandwich island goose (Bernicla sandvicensis), now very commonly domesticated in Europe; and some flycatchers and thrushlike birds.
Its most distinctive characteristic is the presence of the birds of paradise, which are almost peculiar to it; for, granting that the bower-birds, Chlamydodera and others, of Australia, belong to the same family, they are far less highly specialized than the beautiful and extraordinary forms which are found, within very restricted limits, in the various islands of the subregion.
It has several marked deficiencies compared with Australia, among which are the babblers (Timeliidae), weaver birds (Ploceidae), the Platycercinae among parrots, diurnal birds of p rey and the emeus.
As a whole, the birds of Papua are remarkable for their brilliance of plumage, or their metallic colouring.
The birds of paradise, the racquet-tailed kingfishers, Tanysiptera, the largest and smallest of parrots, Calyptorhynchus and Nasiterna, and the great crowned pigeons, Goura, are very characteristic; and so are the various Megapodes.
Owing to the comparatively scanty number of harmful mammalian types, the birds play a considerable part in this large region, and some authorities consider its avifauna the richest in the world.
E Here, as over so large a portion of the Australian region, we find birds constituting the supreme class - the scarcity of mammals being accounted for in some measure as a normal effect of insularity.
There is no family of birds common to the Nearctic area and the Antillean subregion without occurring also in other parts of the Neotropical region, a fact which proves its, affinity to the latter.
The Patagonian Subregion, most extratropical, is naturally devoid of a good many typically tropical birds, or these are but poorly represented, for instance Caerebidae, Mniotiltidae, Tanagridae, Vireonidae.
The close affinity of North America with the Palaearctic avifauna becomes at once apparent if we exclude those groups of birds which we have good reason to believe have their original home in the Neotropical region, notably numerous Tyrannidae, humming-birds and the turkey-buzzards.
Not indeed altogether so homogeneous as the Nearctic area, it presents, however, even at its extreme points, no very striking difference between the bulk of its birds.
Though Japan is far removed from western Europe, and though a few generic forms and still fewer families inhabit the one without also frequenting the other, yet there is a most astonishing similarity in a large portion of their respective birds.
Like the Nearctic the Palaearctic subregion seems to possess but one single peculiar family of land birds, the Panuridae, represented by the beautiful species known to Englishmen as the bearded titmouse, Panurus biarmicus.
There is a general tendency among these insular birds to vary more or less from their continental representatives, and this is especially shown by the former having always darker plumage and stronger bills and legs.
Between fifty and sixty so-called families of land birds alone are found within its limits, and of them at least nine are peculiar; the typical genera of which are Buphaga, Euryceros, Philepitta, Musophaga, Irrisor, Leptosoma, Colius, Serpentarius, Struthio, Aepyornis.
Of the many characteristic birds may be mentioned Pycnonotidae or bulbuls, of which the Phyllornithinae are peculiar, Campephagidae or cuckoo-shrikes, Dicruridae or drongos, Nectariniidae or sunbirds; pheasants, together with Pavo and Gallus.
The resulting " classification is based on the examination, mostly autoptic, of a far greater number of characters than any that had preceded it; moreover, they were chosen in a different way, discernment being exercised in sifting and weighing them, so as to determine, so far as possible, the relative value of each, according as that value may vary in different groups, and not to produce a mere mechanical ` key ' after the fashion become of late years so common " (Newton's Dictionary of Birds, Introduction, p. 103).
It is not the quantity but the quality of the anatomical and bionomic characters which determines their taxonomic value, and a few fundamental characters are better indications of the affinities of given groups of birds than a great number of agreements if these can be shown to be cases of isomorphism or heterophyletic, convergent analogy.
Each of these schools impresses its pupils, in the case of the birds, with its own stamp, but there are many combinations, since in the course of phyletic development many a group of birds has exchanged one school for another.
A statement may now be given of Gadow's classification of birds, in which the extinct forms have been intercalated so far as possible.
Another branch of the Alectoromorphae, in particular of the Galliformes, when these were still scarcely separated from the Gruiformes, especially rail-like birds, leads through Opisthocomi to the Cuculiformes.
This was split open by a thunderbolt, the old man sacrificing himself to save the lives of those who were inside, and from it there issued the progenitors of the present races of men, beasts, birds, fishes and plants.
Its striated plumage also favours this view, as an evidence of permanent immaturity or generalization of form, since striped feathers are so often the earliest clothing of many of these birds, which only get rid of them at their first moult.
The birds of Liberia are not quite so peculiar as the mammals.
The other birds are mainly those of Senegambia and of the West African forest region generally.
There is one trogon - green and crimson, a brightly coloured ground thrush (Pitta), numerous woodpeckers and barbets; glossy starlings, the black and white African crow and a great variety of brilliantly coloured weaver birds, waxbills, shrikes and sun-birds.
From the fact that turnstones may be met with at almost any season in various parts of the world, and especially on islands as the Canaries, Azores, and many of those in the British seas, it has been inferred that these birds may breed in such places.
Numberless aquatic birds visit it for breeding purposes.
A list, still incomplete, of the birds of St Petersburg runs to 251 species.
The fauna of the scrub in the river valleys is decidedly rich, and includes aquatic birds.
Bogdanov, Birds and Mammals of the Black-Earth Region of the Volga Basin (in Russian, Kazan, 1871); Karelin for the southern Urals; Kessler for fishes; Strauch, Die Schlangen des Russ.
In like manner in the purification of lepers two birds were used; the throat of one was cut, the living bird dipped in the blood mingled with water and the leper sprinkled; then the bird was set free to carry away the leprosy.
Gulls and amphibious birds abound in large variety; three kinds of penguin have their rookeries and breed here, migrating yearly for some months to the South American mainland.
Stray specimens of the great king penguin have been observed, and there are also mollymauks (a kind of albatross), Cape pigeons and many carrion birds.
Of the extremely limited Samoan fauna, consisting mainly of an indigenous rat, four species of snakes and a few birds, the most interesting member is the Didunculus strigirostris, a ground pigeon of iridescent greenish-black and bright chestnut plumage, which forms a link between the extinct dodo and the living African Treroninae.
Then, turning his attention to the malaria of birds, he worked out the life-history of these cells within the body of the mosquito.
Birds are subject to malaria, which is caused by blood parasites akin to those in man and having a similar life-history.
Two species, affecting different kinds of birds, have been identified.
Of birds some 30 kinds are known, an owl being the only bird of prey; parrots, pigeons, kingfishers, honey-suckers, rails, ducks, and other water birds are numerous.
Among other species are P. antisianus, P. fulgidus, P. auriceps and P. pavoninus, from various parts of South America, but though all are beautiful birds, none possess the wonderful singularity of the quezal.
One of the most peculiar of these is the genus Phasianus, of which splendid birds all the species are restricted in their wild state to northern Asia.
The assemblage of birds of the Indian region is one of the richest and most varied in the world, being surpassed only by that of tropical America.
In'the birds, the Ethiopian type is shown by the prevalence of larks and' ",stone-chats, and by the complete absence of the many peculiar genera of the Indian region.
The birds of these islands present similar peculiarities.
Species of birds akin to those of Africa also occur in Celebes.
Scare off the birds, harrow up the weeds, cut down all that shades the crop. Ploughs, waggons, threshing-sledges, harrows, baskets, hurdles, winnowing-fans are the farmer's implements.
They are not, therefore, like the wings of birds, modified from some pre-existing structures (the fore-limbs) common to their phylum; they are new and peculiar structures.
By the time the army reached the little Ukrainian fortress of Hadjacz in January 1709, wine and spirits froze into solid masses of ice; birds on the wing fell dead; saliva congealed on its passage from the mouth to the ground.
Though birds make a not unimportant appearance in the earliest written records of the human race, the painter's brush has preserved their counterfeit presentment for a still longer period.
In later ages the representations of birds of one sort or another in Egyptian paintings and sculptures become countless, and the bassi-rilievi of Assyrian monuments, though mostly belonging of course to a subsequent period, are not without them.
No figures of birds, however, seem yet to have been found on the incised stones, bones or ivories of the prehistoric races of Europe.
Sundevall - equally proficient in classical as in ornithological knowledge - was, in 1863, compelled to leave more than a score of the birds of which Aristotle wrote unidentified.
A considerable number of birds are mentioned, and something said of almost each of them; but that something is too often nonsense according to modern ideas.
The twentythird of these books is De Avibus, and therein a great number of birds' names make their earliest appearance, few of which are without interest from a philologist's if not an ornithologist's point of view, but there is much difficulty in recognizing the species to which many of them belong.
The revival of learning was at hand, and William Turner, a Northumbrian, while residing abroad to avoid persecution at home, printed at Cologne in 1544 the first commentary on the birds mentioned by Aristotle and Pliny conceived in anything like the spirit that moves modern naturalists.'
Like nearly all his predecessors since Aelian, he adopted an alphabetical arrangement, though this was not too pedantically preserved, and did not hinder him from placing together the kinds of birds which he supposed (and generally supposed rightly) to have the most resemblance to that one whose name, being best known, was chosen for the headpiece (as it were) of his particular theme, thus recognizing to some extent the principle of classification.3 Belon, with perhaps less book-learning than his contemporary, was evidently no mean scholar, and undoubtedly had more practical knowledge of birds - their internal as well as external structure.
Besides this, Belon disposed the birds known to him according to a definite system, which (rude as we now know it to be) formed a foundation on which several of his successors were content to build, and even to this day traces of its influence may still be discerned in the arrangement followed by writers who have faintly appreciated the principles on which modern taxonomers rest the outline of their schemes.
Nevertheless he makes some attempt at a systematic arrangement of birds, which, according to his lights, is far from despicable.
The first is entitled Externarum et internarum principalium humani corporis Tabulae, &c. while the second, which is the most valuable, is merely appended to the Lectiones Gabrielis Fallopii de partibus similaribus humani corporis, &c., and thus, the scope of each work being regarded as medical, the author's labours were wholly overlooked by the mere naturalhistorians who followed, though Coiter introduced a table, " De differentiis Auium," furnishing a key to a rough classification of such birds as were known to him, and this as nearly the first attempt of the kind deserves notice here.
Contemporary with these three men was Ulysses Aldrovandus, a Bolognese, who wrote an Historia Naturalium in sixteen folio volumes, most of which were not printed till after his death in 1605; but those on birds appeared between 1599 and 1603.
Most of the birds he describes are characterized with accuracy sufficient to enable them to be identified, and his observations upon them have still some interest; but he was innocent of any methodical system, and was not exempt from most of the professional fallacies of his time.'
Hitherto, from the nature of the case, the works aforesaid treated of scarcely any but the birds belonging to the orbis veteribus notus; but the geographical discoveries of the 16th century began to bear fruit, and many animals of kinds un suspected were, about one hundred years later, made known.
The earliest list of British birds seems to be that in the Pinax Rerum Naturalium of Christopher Merrett, published in 1667.
In his classification of birds Linnaeus for the most part followed Ray, and where he departed from his model he seldom improved upon it.
Both these works (now rare) are manifestly framed on the Linnaean method, so far as it had then reached; but in their arrangement of the various forms of birds they differed greatly from that which they designed to supplant, and they deservedly obtained little success.
The chief merit of the latter work lies in its forty plates, whereon the heads and feet of many birds are indifferently figured .2 But, while the successive editions of Linnaeus's great work were revolutionizing natural history, and his example of precision in language producing excellent effect on scientific writers, several other authors were advancing the study of ornithology in a very different way - a way that pleased the eye even more than his labours were pleasing the mind.
Between 1731 and 1 To this was added a supplement by Petiver on the Birds of Madras, taken from pictures and information sent him by one Edward Buckley of Fort St George, being the first attempt to catalogue the birds of any part of the British possessions in India.
Far better both as draughtsman and as authority was George Edwards, who in 1 743 began, under the same title as Albin, a series of plates with letterpress, which was continued by the name of Gleanings in Natural History, and finished in 1760, when it had reached seven parts, forming four quarto volumes, the figures of which are nearly always quoted with approval.4 The year which saw the works of Edwards completed was still further distinguished by the appearance in France, where little had been done since Belon's days,' in six quarto volumes, of the Ornithologie of MathurinJacques Brisson - a work of very great merit so far as it goes, for as a descriptive ornithologist the author stands even now unsurpassed; but it must be said that his knowledge, according to internal evidence, was confined to books and to the external parts of birds' skins.
Of such " Orders " Brisson had twenty-six and he gave pigeons and poultry precedence of the birds which are plunderers and scavengers.
Brisson has been charged with jealousy of, if not hostility to, the great Swede, and it is true that in the preface to his Ornithologie he complains of the insufficiency of the Linnaean characters, but, when one considers how much better acquainted with birds the Frenchman was, such criticism must be allowed to be pardonable if not wholly just.
The success of Edwards's very respectable work seems to have provoked competition, and in 1765, at the instigation of Buffon, the younger d'Aubenton began the publication known as the Planches enlumineez d'histoire naturelle, which appearing in forty-two parts was not completed till 1780, when the plates' it contained reached the number of 1008 - all coloured, as its title intimates, and nearly all representing birds.
This was his General Synopsis of Birds, and, though formed generally on the model of Linnaeus, greatly diverged in some respects therefrom.
His opportunities of becoming acquainted with birds were hardly inferior to Brisson's, for during Latham's long lifetime there poured in upon him countless new discoveries from all parts of the world, but especially from the newly-explored shores of Australia and the islands of the Pacific Ocean.
About the time that Buffon was bringing to an end his studies of birds, Mauduyt undertook to write the Ornithologie of the Encyclopedic methodique - a comparatively easy task, considering the recent works of his fellow-countrymen on that subject, and finished in 1784.
The same draughtsman (who had in 1 775 produced a History of British Birds) in 1822 began another series of Figures of rare and curious Birds.8 The practice of Brisson, Buffon, Latham and others of neglecting to name after the Linnaean fashion the species they described gave great encouragement to compilation, and led to what has proved to be of some inconvenience to modern ornithologists.
Historiconaturalis, in which are described many birds, mostly from his A German translation by Bechstein subsequently appeared.
It contains figures of more than 280 birds, but very poorly executed.
This was completed in 1817, and forms three volumes with 149 plates, 27 of which represent birds.
He took many liberties with the details of Linnaeus's work, but left the classification, at least of the birds, as it was - a few new genera excepted.'
During all this time little had been done in studying the internal structure of birds; 3 but the foundations of the science of embryology had been laid by the investigations into the development of the chick by the great Harvey.
Between 1666 and 1669 Perrault edited at Paris eight accounts of the dissection by du Verney of as many species of birds, which, translated into English, were published by the Royal Society in 1702, under the title of The Natural History of Animals.
But in 1681 Gerard Blasius had brought out at Amsterdam an Anatome Animalium, containing the results of all the dissections of animals that he could find; and the second part of this book, treating of Volatilia, makes a respectable show of more than one hundred and twenty closely-printed quarto pages, though nearly two-thirds is devoted to a treatise De Ovo et Pullo, containing among other things a reprint of Harvey's researches, and the scientific rank of the whole book may be inferred from bats being still classed with birds.
In 1720 Valentini published, at Frankfort-on-the-Main, his Amphitheatrum Zootomicum, in which again most of the existing accounts of the anatomy of birds were reprinted.
In the work just mentioned few details are given; but even the more elaborate classification of birds contained in his Lecons d'anatomie comparee of 1805 is based wholly on external characters, such as had been used by nearly all his predecessors; and the Regne Animal of 1817, when he 1 This was reprinted in 5882 by the Willughby Society.
But, though apparently without such a knowledge of the anatomy of birds as would enable him to apply it to the formation of that natural system which he was fully aware had yet to be sought, he seems to have been an excellent judge of the characters afforded by the bill and limbs, and the use he made of them, coupled with the extraordinary reputation he acquired on other grounds, procured for his system the adhesion for many years of the majority of ornithologists.'
Of those travellers then the first to be here especially named is Marsigli, the fifth volume of whose Danubius Pannonico-Mysicus is devoted to the birds he met with in the valley of the Danube, and appeared at the Hague in 1725, followed by a French translation in 1744.8 Most of the many pupils whom Linnaeus sent to foreign countries submitted their discoveries to him, but Kalm, Hasselqvist and Osbeck published separately their respective travels in North America, the Levant and China.
Frisch began the long series of works on the birds of Germany with which the literature of ornithology is enriched, by his Vorstellung der Vogel Teutschlands, which was only completed in 1763, and, its coloured plates proving very attractive, was again issued at Berlin in 1817.
The little fly-sheet of Zorn l - for it is scarcely more - on the birds of the Hercynian Forest made its appearance at Pappenheim in 1745.
Fischer's Versuch einer Naturgeschichte von Livland appeared at Konigsberg, next year Beseke brought out at Mitau his Beytrag zur Naturgeschichte der Vogel Kurlands, and in 1794 Siemssen's Handbuch of the birds of Mecklenburg was published at Rostock.
But these works, locally useful as they may have been, did not occupy the whole attention of German ornithologists, for in 1791 Bechstein reached the second volume of his Gemeinnititzige Naturgeschichte Deutschlands, treating of the birds of that country, which ended with the fourth in 1795.
In 1764 Briinnich published at Copenhagen his Ornithologia borealis, a compendious sketch of the birds of all the countries then subject to the Danish crown.
Forster published a Catalogue of the Animals of North America in London in 1771, and the following year described in the Philosophical Transactions a few birds from Hudson Bay.
The earliest list of British birds we possess is that given by Merrett in his Pinax rerun naturalium Britannicarum, printed in London in 1667.4 In 1677 Plot published his Natural History of Oxfordshire, which reached a second edition in 1705, and in 1686 that of Staffordshire.
Hayes's Natural History of British Birds, a folio with forty plates, appeared between 1771 and 1775, but was of no scientific value.
In 1781 Nash's Worcestershire included a few ornithological notices; and Walcott in 1789 published an illustrated Synopsis of British Birds, coloured copies of which are rare.
Simultaneously William Lewin began his seven quarto volumes on the Birds of Great Britain, a reissue in eight volumes following between 1795 and 1801.
Heysham added to Hutchins's Cumberland a list of birds of that county, whilst in the same year began Thomas Lord's valueless Entire New System of Ornithology, the text of which was written or corrected by Dr Dupree, and in 1794 Donovan began a History of British Birds which was only finished in 1819 - the earlier portion being reissued about the same time.
Observations on birds form the principal though by no means the whole theme of this book, which may be safely said to have done more to promote a love of ornithology in England than any other work that has been written, nay more than all the other works (except one next to be mentioned) put together.
No real second edition ever appeared, but in anticipation of it Sir Thomas Browne prepared in or about 1671 (?) his " Account of Birds found in Norfolk," of which the draft, now in the British Museum, was printed in his collected works by Wilkin in 1835.
On reviewing the progress of ornithology since the end of the 18th century, the first thing that will strike us is the fact that general works, though still undertaken, have become proportionally fewer, while special works, whether relating to the ornithic portion of the fauna of any particular country, or limited to certain groups of birds - works to which the name of " Monograph " has become wholly restricted - have become far more numerous.
The more important monographs will usually be found cited in the separate articles on birds contained in this work, though some, by reason of changed views of classification, have for practical purposes to be regarded now as general works.
This is devoted to the very distinct and not nearly-allied groups of hornbills and of birds which for want of a better name we must call " Chatterers," and is illustrated, like those works of which a notice immediately follows, by coloured plates, done in what was then considered to be the highest style of art and by the best draughtsmen procurable.
The first volume of a Histoire naturelle des perroquets, a companion work by the same author, appeared in the same year, and is truly a monograph, since the parrots constitute a family of birds so naturally severed from all others that there has rarely been anything else confounded with them.
The following year, 1808, being aided by Temminck of Amsterdam, of whose son we shall presently hear more, Le Vaillant brought out the sixth volume of 1 This is especially observable in the figures of the birds of prey.
His colleague, Vieillot, brought out in 1805 a Histoire naturelle des plus beaux chanteurs de la Zone Torride with figures by Langlois of tropical finches, grosbeaks, buntings and other hard-billed birds; and in 1807 two volumes of a Histoire' naturelle des oiseaux de l'Amenique septentrionale, without, however, paying much attention to the limits commonly assigned by geographers to' that part of the world.
Earliest in date as it is greatest in bulk stands Audubon's Birds of America in four volumes, containing four hundred and thirty-five plates, of which the first part appeared in London in 1827 and the last in 1838.
In 1830 John Edward Gray commenced the Illustrations of Indian Zoology, a series of plates of vertebrated animals, G w but mostly of birds, from drawings, it is believed by dlcke..
A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains was followed by The Temminck subsequently reproduced, with many additions, the text of this volume in his Histoire naturelle des pigeons et des gallinacees, published at Amsterdam in 1813-1815, in 3 vols.
Birds of Europe in five volumes, published between 1832 and 1837, while in the interim (1834) appeared A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, of which a second edition was some years later called for, then the Icones avium, of which only two parts were published (1837-1838), and A Monograph of the Trogonidae (1838), which also reached a second edition.
Sailing in 1838 for New South Wales, on his return in 1840 he at once commenced the greatest of all his works, The Birds of Australia, which was finished in 1848 in seven volumes, to which several supplementary parts, forming another volume, were subsequently added.
A Monograph of the Odontophorinae or Partridges of America (1850); The Birds of Asia, in seven volumes, the last completed by Mr Sharpe (1850-1883); The Birds of Great Britain, in five volumes (1863-1873); and The Birds of New Guinea, begun in 1875, and, after the author's death in 1881, undertaken by Mr Sharpe, make up the wonderful tale consisting of more than forty folio volumes, and containing more than three thousand coloured plates.
Though a comparatively small number of species of birds are figured in this magnificent work (seventeen only in the first series, and twenty-two in the second), it must be mentioned here, for their likenesses are so admirably executed as to place it in regard to ornithological portraiture at the head of all others.
The letterpress is commonly limited to technical details, and is not always accurate; but it is of its kind useful, for in general knowledge of the outside of birds Temminck probably surpassed any of his contemporaries.
Notwithstanding its name it only contains eighty plates, but of them forty-two, all by Pretre and in his usual stiff style, represent birds.
Between 1831 and 1834 the same author brought out, in continuation of his Centurie, his Illustrations de zoologie with sixty plates, twenty of which represent birds.
The last seven of its fourteen volumes include the Class A y es, and the first part of them appeared in 1809, but, the original author dying in 1815, when only two volumes of birds were published, the remainder was brought to an end in 1826 by his successor, who afterwards became well known as an entomologist.
The following year Ranzani of Bologna, in his Elementi di zoologia - a very respectable compilation - came to treat of birds, and then followed to some extent the plan of De Blainville and Merrem (concerning which much more has to be said by and by), placing the Struthious birds in an Order by themselves.
British Museum, began with A List of the Genera of Birds Gray.
In 1855 Gray brought out, as one of the Museum publications, A Catalogue of the Genera and Subgenera of Birds, a handy little volume, naturally founded on the larger works.
The same deficiency became still more apparent when, between 1869 and 1871, he published his Hand-List of Genera and Species of Birds in three 1813-1814, p. xxviii.); but, through the derangements of that stormy period, the order was never carried out (Mem.
Buller's beautiful Birds of New Zealand (4to, 1872- New 1873), with coloured plates by Keulemans, since the publi.
Buller's Supplement to the Birds of New Zealand (1905-1906) completes the great work of this author.
Passing to Australia, we have the first good description of some of its birds in the several old voyages and in Latham's works before mentioned.
Lewin s Natural History of the Birds of New South Wales (4to, 1822), which reached a third edition in 1838.
Some notices of Australian birds by Mr Ramsay and others are to be found in the Proceedings of the Linnaean Society of New South Wales and of the Royal Society of Tasmania.
Blanford's Birds of British India (1898)(1898) remains the standard work.
A nominal list, with references, of the birds of the island is contained in the Handbook of Jamaica.
Elliot, Gallinaceous Game Birds of North America (New York, 1897) and Wild Fowl of the United States and British Possessions (1898), and Robert Ridgway's learned and invaluable Birds of North and Middle America, published by the Smithsonian Institution, Bull.
Macleay indeed never pretended to a high position in this branch of science, his tastes lying in the direction of Entomology; but few of their countrymen knew more of birds than did Swainson and Vigors; and, while the latter, as editor for many years of the Zoological Journal, and the first secretary of the Zoological Society, has especial claims to the regard of all zoologists, so the former's indefatigable pursuit of Natural History, and conscientious labour in its behalf-among other ways by means of his graceful pencil-deserve to be remembered as a set-off against the injury he unwittingly caused.
A list of its birds, with some notes, bibliographical and biological, has been given as an Appendix to Baring-Gould's Iceland, its Scenes and Sagas (8vo, 1862); and Shepherd's North-west Peninsula of Iceland (8vo, 1867) recounts a somewhat profitless expedition made thither expressly for ornithological objects.
Returning northwards, we have of the birds of the whole of France nothing of real importance more recent than the volume.
For other countries in the Levant there are Canon Tristram's Fauna and Flora of Palestine (4to, 1884) and Captain Shelley's Handbook to the Birds of Egypt (8vo, 1872).
This is a very disappointing performance, since the author observes that, notwithstanding his new classification of birds is based on a study of the form of the sternal apparatus, yet, because that lies wholly within the body, he is compelled to have recourse to such outward characters as are afforded by the 1 From carin g, a keel.
Still De Blainville made some advance in a right direction, as for instance by elevating the parrots' and the pigeons as " Ordres," equal in rank to that of the birds of prey and some others.
Two years later Nitzsch, who was indefatigable in his endeavour to discover the natural families of birds and had been pursuing a series of researches into their vascular system, published the result, at Halle in Saxony, in his Observationes de avium arteria carotide communi, in which is included a classification drawn up in accordance with the variation of structure which that important vessel presented in the several groups that he had opportunities of examining.
This is the most usual fashion among the various groups of birds, including all the " aerial " forms excepting Passerinae, Macrochires and Picinae.
That in which the left carotid artery alone exists, as found in all other birds examined by Nitzsch, and therefore as regards species and individuals much the most common - since into this category come the countless thousands of the passerine birds - a group which outnumbers all the rest put together.
Considering the enormous stride in advance made by L'Herminier, it is very disappointing for the historian to have to record that the next inquirer into the osteology of birds achieved a Berthold.
It had hitherto been generally believed that the mode of ossification in the fowl was that which obtained in all birds - the ostrich and its allies (as L'Herminier, we have seen, had already shown) excepted.
But it was now made to appear that the struthious birds in this respect resembled, not only the duck, but a great many other groups - waders, birds-of-prey, pigeons, passerines and perhaps all birds not gallinaceous - so that, according to Cuvier's view, the five points of ossification observed in the Gallinae, instead of exhibiting the normal process, exhibited one quite exceptional, and that in all other birds, so far as he had been enabled to investigate the matter, ossification of the sternum began at two points only, situated near the anterior upper margin of the side of the sternum, and gradually crept towards the keel, into which it presently extended; and, though he allowed the appearance of detached portions of calcareous matter at the base of the still cartilaginous keel in ducks at a certain age, he seemed to consider this an individual peculiarity.
As regards the struthious birds, they could not be likened to the duck, for in them at no age was there any indication of a single median centre of ossification, as Geoffroy had satisfied himself by his own observations made in Egypt many years before.
Cuvier seems to have acquiesced in the corrections of his views made by Geoffroy, and attempted no rejoinder; but the attentive and impartial student of the discussion will see that a good deal was really wanting to make the latter's reply effective, though, as events have shown, the former was hasty in the conclusions at which he arrived, having trusted too much to the first appearance of centres of ossification, for, had his observations in regard to other birds been carried on with the same attention to detail as in regard to the fowl, he would certainly have reached some very different results.
At the same time he seems, according to the abstract of his memoir, to have made the somewhat contradictory assertion that sometimes there are more than three pieces in each series, and in certain groups of birds as many as six.
They extend to more than a score of natural groups of birds, and nearly each of them presents some peculiar characters.
The same variations are observable in the second or middle series, but its side-pieces are said to exist in all groups of birds without exception.
In the ostrich and its allies no trace of this median centre of ossification ever occurs; but with these exceptions its existence is invariable in all other birds.
This will perhaps be the most convenient place to mention another kind of classification of birds, which, based on a principle wholly different from those that have just been explained, requires a few words, though it has not been productive, parte.
The herons, for instance, are much more Constrictipedes " than are the larks or the kingfishers, and, so far from the majority of " Inconstrictipedes " being polygamous, there is scarcely any evidence of polygamy obtaining as a habit among birds in a state of nature except in certain of the Gallinae and a very few others.
C. Eyton, who for many years had been forming a collection of birds' skeletons, began the publication of a series of plates representing them.
The whole work contains a great number of figures of birds' skeletons and detached bones; but they are not so drawn as to be of much practical use, and the accompanying letterpress is too brief to be satisfactory.
That the eggs laid by birds should offer to some extent characters of utility to systematists is only to be expected, when it is considered that those from the same nest generally bear an extraordinary family likeness to one another, and also that in certain groups the essential peculiarities of the egg-shell are constantly and distinctively characteristic. Thus no one who has ever examined the egg of a duck or of a tinamou would ever be in danger of not referring another tinamou's egg or another duck's, that he might see, to its proper family, and so on with many others.
In this scheme birds are arranged according to what the author considered to be their natural method and sequence; but the result exhibits some unions as ill-assorted as can well be met with in the whole range of tentative arrangements of the class, together with some very unjustifiable divorces.
Men's minds began to figure to themselves the original type of some well-marked genus or family of birds.
More dimly still visions of what the first bird may have been like could be reasonably entertained; and, passing even to a higher antiquity, the reptilian parent whence all birds have sprung was brought within reach of man's consciousness.
Starting from the basis " that the phrase `birds are greatly modified reptiles' would hardly be an exaggerated expression of the closeness " of the resemblance between the two classes, which he had previously brigaded under the name of Sauropsida (as he had brigaded the Pisces and Amphibia as Ichthyopsida), he drew in bold outline both their likenesses and their differences, and then proceeded to inquire how the A y es could be most appropriately subdivided into orders, suborders and families.
The Ratitae comprehend the struthious birds, which differ from all others now extant in the combination of several peculiarities, some of which have been mentioned in the preceding pages.
The sternum has no keel, and ossifies from lateral and paired centres only; the axes of the scapula and cora.coid have the same general direction; certain of the cranial bones have characters very unlike those possessed by the next order - the vomer, for example, being broad posteriorly and generally intervening between the basisphenoidal rostrum and the palatals and pterygoids; the barbs of the feathers are disconnected; there is no syrinx or inferior larynx; and the diaphragm is better developed than in other birds.'
The recognition of these, minute and fragmentary as many were, and the referring them to their proper place, rendered necessary an attentive study of the comparative osteology and myology of birds in general, that of the " long bones," whose sole characters were often a few muscular ridges or depressions, being especially obligatory.
In 1880 Marsh brought out Odontornithes, a monograph of the extinct toothed birds of North America.
In the author's concluding summary he remarks on the fact that, while the Odontolcae, as exhibited in Hesperornis, had teeth inserted in a continuous groove - a low and generalized character as shown by reptiles, they had, however, the strongly differentiated saddle-shaped vertebrae such as all modern birds possess.
But that these three oldest-known forms of birds should differ so greatly from each other unmistakably points to a great antiquity for the class.
This Tentamen, containing his complete method of classifying birds in general, naturally received much attention, the more so perhaps, since, with its appendices, it was nearly the last labour of its respected author, whose industrious life came to an end in the course of the following year.
From what has before been said of his works it may be gathered that, while professedly basing his systematic arrangement of the groups of birds on their external features, he had hitherto striven to make his schemes harmonize if possible with the dictates of internal structure as evinced by the science of anatomy, though he uniformly and persistently protested against the inside being better than the outside.
Birds were divided into Gymnopaedes and Dasypaedes, according as the young were hatched naked or clothed.