Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
FAMILY XV. FRINGILLINAE. FINCHES.
Bill short, stout, conical, acute; upper mandible generally with its dorsal
line more or less convex, the sides rounded, the edges inflected or direct, the
tip acute; lower mandible with the dorsal line ascending and slightly convex,
the edges involute. Gap-line ascending for more than a fourth of its length,
then direct. Nostrils basal, roundish, partly concealed by the feathers. Head
of moderate size, or rather large, ovate or roundish; neck short; body compact;
tarsus generally shorter than the middle toe with its claw, compressed, with
seven or eight anterior scutella; hind toe stout; outer toe adherent at the
base, lateral about equal. Claws long or moderate, compressed, laterally
grooved, acute. Plumage soft and blended, but firm. Wings various, acute, or
rounded. Tail of twelve feathers. Roof of upper mandible concave, with three
prominent lines, of which the middle is sometimes elevated into an oblong hard
prominence. Tongue much compressed, pointed; oesophagus rather wide, with a
dilatation or crop on the right side; stomach roundish or oblong, muscular, with
the epithelium thin, dense, and longitudinally rugous; intestine short, rather
wide; coeca very small, cylindrical. Trachea simple, with four pairs of
inferior laryngeal muscles. The Fringillinae pass into the Icterinae on the one
hand, and the Alaudinae on the other. The Buntings scarcely differ from the
Finches in any other character than the knob on the palate, which is common to
them with the Icterinae.