Fowl are birds belonging to one of two biological orders, namely the gamefowl or landfowl (Galliformes) and the waterfowl (Anseriformes). Anatomical and molecular similarities suggest these two groups are close evolutionary relatives; together, they form the fowl clade which is scientifically known as Galloanserae (initially termed Galloanseri). This clade is also supported by morphological and DNA sequence data as well as retrotransposon presence/absence data.
The ibises (collective plural ibis; bclassical plurals ibides and ibes) are a group of long-legged wading birds in the family Threskiornithidae, that inhabit wetlands, forests and plains. “Ibis” derives from the Latin and Ancient Greek word for this group of birds. It also occurs in the scientific name of the cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) mistakenly identified in 1757 as being the sacred ibis.
Larks are passerine birds of the family Alaudidae. Larks have a cosmopolitan distribution with the largest number of species occurring in Africa. Only a single species, the horned lark, occurs in North America, and only Horsfield’s bush lark occurs in Australia. Habitats vary widely, but many species live in dry regions.
Sandpipers are a large family, Scolopacidae, of waders or shorebirds. They include many species called sandpipers, as well as those called by names such as curlew and snipe. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.
Sandpipers have long bodies and legs, and narrow wings. Most species have a narrow bill, but otherwise the form and length are quite variable. They are small to medium-sized birds, measuring 12 to 66 cm (4.7–26.0 in) in length. The bills are sensitive, allowing the birds to feel the mud and sand as they probe for food. They generally have dull plumage, with cryptic brown, grey, or streaked patterns, although some display brighter colours during the breeding season.
Most species nest in open areas, and defend their territories with aerial displays. The nest itself is a simple scrape in the ground, in which the bird typically lays three or four eggs. The young of most species are precocial.
Hoopoes are colourful birds found across Africa, Asia, and Europe, notable for their distinctive “crown” of feathers. Three living and one extinct species are recognised, though for many years all of the extant species were lumped as a single species—Upupa epops.
A goose (plural geese) is a bird of any of several waterfowl species in the family Anatidae. This group comprises the genera Anser (the grey geese), Branta (the black geese), and Chen (which includes the white geese), the latter being commonly placed within the genus Anser. Some other birds, mostly related to the shelducks, have “goose” as part of their names. More distantly related members of the family Anatidae are swans, most of which are larger than true geese, and ducks, which are smaller.
The term “goose” is more properly used for a female bird, while “gander” refers specifically to a male one. Young birds before fledging are called goslings. The collective noun for a group of geese on the ground is a gaggle; when in flight, they are called a skein, a team, or a wedge; when flying close together, they are called a plump.
The thrushes are a passerine bird family, Turdidae, with a worldwide distribution. The family was once much larger before biologists determined the subfamily Saxicolinae, which includes the chats and European robins, were Old World flycatchers. Thrushes are small to medium-sized ground living birds that feed on insects, other invertebrates and fruit. Some unrelated species around the world have been named after thrushes due to their similarity to birds in this family.
Columbidae is a bird family consisting of pigeons and doves. It is the only family in the order Columbiformes. These are stout-bodied birds with short necks, and short slender bills that in some species feature fleshy ceres. They primarily feed on seeds, fruits, and plants. The family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in the Indomalayan and Australasian realms.
The family contains 344 species divided into 49 genera. Thirteen of the species are extinct.
In English, the smaller species tend to be called “doves” and the larger ones “pigeons”. The distinction is not consistent, however, and does not exist in most other languages. For example, the woodpigeon is often referred to, by another name, as the ringdove, due to the white markings on its neck. Historically, the common names for these birds involve a great deal of variation between the terms. The bird most commonly referred to as just “pigeon” is the domestic pigeon, which is common in many cities as the feral pigeon.
Pigeon is a French word that derives from the Latin pipio, for a “peeping” chick, while dove is a Germanic word that refers to the bird’s diving flight. The English dialectal word “culver” appears to derive from Latin columba. A group of doves is called a “dule,” taken from the French word deuil (mourning).
Doves and pigeons build relatively flimsy nests, often using sticks and other debris, which may be placed on branches of trees, on ledges, or on the ground, depending on species. They lay one or (usually) two white eggs at a time, and both parents care for the young, which leave the nest after 25–32 days. Unfledged baby doves and pigeons are called squabs and are generally able to fly by 5 weeks of age. These fledglings, with their immature squeaking voices, are called squeakers once they are weaned or weaning. Unlike most birds, both sexes of doves and pigeons produce “crop milk” to feed to their young, secreted by a sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop.
Potoos (family Nyctibiidae) are a group of near passerine birds related to the nightjars and frogmouths. They are sometimes called poor-me-ones, after their haunting calls. There are seven species in one genus, Nyctibius, in tropical Central and South America.
These are nocturnal insectivores which lack the bristles around the mouth found in the true nightjars. They hunt from a perch like a shrike or flycatcher. During the day they perch upright on tree stumps, camouflaged to look like part of the stump. The single spotted egg is laid directly on the top of a stump.
Wrens are a family of brown passerine birds in the predominantly New World family Troglodytidae. The family includes 88 species divided into 19 genera. Only the Eurasian wren occurs in the Old World, where, in Anglophone regions, it is commonly known simply as the “wren”, as it is the originator of the name. The name wren has been applied to other, unrelated birds, particularly the New Zealand wrens (Acanthisittidae) and the Australian wrens (Maluridae).
Most wrens are small and inconspicuous, though they have loud and often complex songs. Exceptions include the relatively large members of the genus Campylorhynchus, which can be quite bold in their behavior. Wrens have short wings that are barred in most species, and they often hold their tails upright. Wrens are primarily insectivorous, eating insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates, but many species also eat vegetable matter and some eat small frogs and lizards