Family XXV.--Alcedinae. Kingfishers

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

Birds of America

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


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Bill long, straight, stout, broader than high at the base, much compressed, tapering to a rather acute point, and gap-line commencing beneath the middle of the eyes. Head large, ovate-oblong; neck short; body stout. Tarsus extremely short; anteriorly scaly; anterior toes united for more than half their length, outer longer than inner, hind toe small. Claws stout, compressed, arched, very acute. Plumage rather compact. Wings rather long, pointed. Tail various, of twelve feathers. Tongue very short, fleshy, with the sides parallel, the tip tapering to a bluntish point. Roof of upper mandible moderately concave, with a median ridge and oblique lateral grooves. OEsophagus very wide, without crop; stomach very large, round, with its muscular coat very thin; the epithelium dense, very thin, with tortuous rugae; intestine very long, extremely slender; no coeca; cloaca very large, globular. Trachea with three pairs of inferior laryngeal muscles.

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