Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
GENUS II.--PODICEPS, Lath. GREBE.
Bill about the length of the head, or shorter, straight, rather stout, much
compressed, tapering, pointed; upper mandible with the dorsal line declinate and
more or less convex toward the end, the ridge convex, the sides erect and
somewhat convex, the edges sharp and inflected, the tip narrow; nasal groove
rather long, extending to nearly half the length of the mandible, feathered at
the base; nostrils linear-elliptical, basal, rather small, pervious; lower
mandible with the angle long and extremely narrow, the dorsal line ascending and
straight, the sides erect and slightly convex, the edges sharp and involute, the
tip acute. Head of moderate size, oblong, narrowed before; neck rather long and
slender; body long, depressed. Feet short, large, placed close to the extremity
of the body; tibia feathered to the joint; tarsus extremely compressed, its
anterior edge with a row of small scutella, the sides broadly scutellate, the
posterior ridge with a double row of small prominent scales; toes four, first
very small, with a posterior membrane, fourth longest, all scutellate, the
anterior connected at the base by membranes, and having on both sides an
expanded web-like margin, marked with oblique lines. Claws flat, that of the
third toe broadest. Plumage very soft and blended, on the lower parts dusky.
Wings small, acute, curved, the second primary longest, the first little
shorter; secondaries short and rounded. Tail a slight tuft of loose feathers,
fourteen in number. Tongue slender, trigonal, pointed; oesophagus of moderate
width; proventriculus very large, ovate; stomach extremely large, roundish, its
muscular coat thin; the epithelium thick, soft, rugous; a small pyloric sac;
intestine of moderate length and width; coeca rather long, slender; cloaca very
large, globular. Bronchi with the rings entire and ossified.