Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
FAMILY XXIV.--TROCHILINAE. HUMMING-BIRDS.
Bill long, very slender, straight or arched, somewhat depressed at the
base, subcylindrical, flexible, acute. Head rather large; neck of moderate
length; body moderately robust. Feet very short, rather stout; tarsus extremely
short; toes of moderate size; the anterior coherent at the base, and nearly of
equal length, the hind toe articulated high on the tarsus; claws rather long,
arched, much compressed, very acute. Plumage compact above, soft and blended
beneath, often with metallic lustre; wings very long, extremely narrow,
falciform, with the first quill longest, the other primaries rapidly
diminishing; secondaries extremely short. Tail various, of ten feathers.
Tongue very long, slender, with two flat, thin-edged terminal filaments, and
extensile by means of the elongation of the hyoid bones, which curve over the
head to the fore part of the forehead, and with their muscles slide in a groove,
like those of the Woodpeckers. OEsophagus narrow, considerably enlarged about
the middle; stomach extremely small, roundish, moderately muscular, its
epithelium dense and longitudinally rugous; intestine very short and of moderate
width; no coeca; cloaca globular. Trachea simple, but divided very high up on
the neck, so that the bronchi are of excessive length, with a large pair of
inferior laryngeal muscles.