Biology 463/563 Ornithology

Dr. David Swanson, Office: CL 180



  • ORDER Struthionithiformes - Ostrich, 1 spp., Africa; flightless walking birds, long heavy legs with 2 toes, over 2.2 m tall

  • ORDER Rheiformes - Rheas, 2 spp., S. America; flightless walking birds, 1.5 m tall, long heavy legs with 3 toes

  • ORDER Casuariiformes - Cassowaries and Emus; flightless walking birds, stout legs with 3 toes, up to 1.5 m tall, feathers with long aftershaft
    • Cassowaries - 3 spp., Australia and New Guinea
    • Emus - 2 spp., Australia

  • ORDER Dinornithiformes - Kiwis, 3 spp., New Zealand; flightless, chicken-sized, long bill with nostrils at tip, hair-like feathers

  • ORDER Tinamiformes - Tinamous, 47 spp., Central and South America; flying, ground birds, plump body, slender neck with small heads


  • ORDER Podocipediformes - Grebes, 21 spp., world-wide; lobate toes, divers

  • ORDER Sphenisciformes - Penguins, 17 spp., S. hemisphere; web-footed marine swimmers, wings modified to form paddles, scale-like feathers

  • ORDER Procellariiformes - Pelagic Tubenoses, 115 spp., world-wide; tubular nostrils, hooked beak, long narrow wings

  • ORDER Pelecaniformes - Pelicans and allies, 67 spp., world-wide: mostly tropical and subtropical except cormorants; totipalmate feet, long fish-eating beaks

  • ORDER Anseriformes - Waterfowl, 161 spp., world-wide; broad bills, short legs with webbed feet, swimmers

  • ORDER Phoenicopteriformes - Flamingos, 5 spp., Tropics except Australia; long-legged, long-necked wading birds with webbed feet and specialized filter-feeding bill, pink coloration

  • ORDER Ciconiiformes - Herons, Storks, and Ibises, 120 spp., world-wide; long-necked, long-legged waders

  • ORDER Falconiformes - Hawks and allies, 311 spp., world-wide; diurnal birds of prey, strong hooked bill, talons

  • ORDER Galliformes - Chicken-like birds, 258 spp., world-wide; short rounded wings, heavy bodies, heavy feet for scratching, strong runners

  • ORDER Gruiformes - Cranes, Rails and allies, 213 spp., world-wide; Wide variation: some long-legged and long-necked, others smaller with shorter legs and necks, waders

  • ORDER Charadriiformes - Shorebirds, Gulls and Terns, 366 spp., world-wide; strong fliers, many long-distance migrants, toes usually webbed

  • ORDER Gaviiformes - Loons, 5 spp., Northern N. hemisphere; webbed feet, divers, long bodies, sharp bills

  • ORDER Columbiformes - Pigeons and Doves, 313 spp., world-wide; short legs, short neck, plump bodies

  • ORDER Psittaciformes - Parrots, 358 spp., tropical and subtropical; narrow hooked beak, zygodactyl feet, large rounded head

  • ORDER Coliiformes - Mousebirds, 6 spp., Africa; small, crested, gray or brown birds with long tails, first and fourth toes are reversible, mainly frugivorous and travel in flocks

  • ORDER Musophagiformes - Turacos, 23 spp., Africa; medium-sized arboreal birds with superficial resemblance to a slim chicken with a long tail, mostly vegetarian diet

  • ORDER Cuculiformes - Cuckoos and allies, 143 spp., world-wide; zygodactyl feet with reversible outer toe, many are brood parasites

  • ORDER Strigiformes - Owls, 178 spp., world-wide; nocturnal birds of prey, large eyes, powerful hooked beak and talons

  • ORDER Caprimulgiformes - Nightjars and allies, 113 spp., world-wide; cryptic plumage, wide mouths with insect-netting bristles, small legs and feet, crepuscular or nocturnal

  • ORDER Apodiformes - Hummingbirds and Swifts, 422 spp., world-wide: Hummers in C. and S. America; small birds with short legs and small feet, pointed wings; swifts with short, weak bills; Hummers with long, slender bills

  • ORDER Trogoniformes - Trogons, 39 spp., Tropical regions; short stout bill, small weak zygodactyl feet, long tails, richly colored irridescent plumage

  • ORDER Coraciiformes - Kingfishers, Motmots, Bee-eaters, Hornbills and allies, 218 spp., world-wide; strong prominent bills, colorful plumage, cavity-nesters, Toes 3 & 4 joined at base

  • ORDER Piciformes - Woodpeckers, Toucans and allies, 410 spp., world-wide; zygodactyl feet, highly specialized bills, cavity-nesters

  • ORDER Passeriformes - Songbirds (Perching birds), about 5700 spp. (60% of all birds), world-wide; Divided into primitive Suboscine Suborder (Tyranni) and advanced Oscine Suborder (Passeres) - Oscines with better vocalizations because of highly developed syrinx; feet adapted for perching (3 in front, 1 in back), wing with 9 or 10 primaries, unique palate and sperm structure, very altricial hatchlings.

Other Classification Schemes place:
  • 1) Some classification schemes place Sandgrouse in their own Order (Pteroclidiformes) or with the Order Columbiformes. Here they are placed in Charadriiformes. There are 16 spp. in
    Asia and Africa, all inhabiting plains and deserts. Superficially they appear pigeon-like.
  • 2) The traditional classification schemes have placed flamingos in the Ciconiiformes along with the herons, storks, and ibises.
  • 3) Some classification schemes split hummingbirds and swifts into separate Orders, Trochiliformes and Apodiformes, respectively.
  • 4) Some classification schemes combine cuckoos and turacos into a single Order Cuculiformes.
  • 5) Some classification schemes include trogons in the Order Coraciiformes, rather than in their own Order.