Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
FAMILY XLIV.--ALCINAE. AUKS.
Bill not longer than the head, much compressed, generally very high, in the
species approaching the next family rather slender. Nostrils small, linear,
basal, and sub-marginal. Head large, broadly ovate, anteriorly narrowed; neck
short and thick; body full, compact, ovate, or somewhat elongated. Feet short,
rather stout, placed far behind; tibia bare for a short space; tarsus very
short, compressed, anteriorly scutellate; toes three, of moderate length,
scutellate, webbed. Claws strong, arched, acute. Plumage dense, blended, soft.
Wings small, narrow, pointed. Tail very short. Tongue slender, trigonal;
oesophagus very wide, within the thorax extremely dilated; stomach rather large,
muscular, with the epithelium dense and longitudinally rugous; intestine long
and wide; coeca of moderate size. Trachea simple, with a single pair of
inferior laryngeal muscles. Egg generally single.