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Family XV. Fringillinae. Finches

Family XV. Fringillinae. Finches

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

Birds of America

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.


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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.

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