Birds – The Fowl-like Birds

THE Galliformes, or Fowl-like birds, constitute a large, practically cosmopolitan group of fairly well-marked birds, having the palate schizognathous instead of dromaeognathous, the head of the quadrate bone double instead of single, the basal ends of the coracoids united and crossed instead of separated, and the bill vaulted and more or less decurved. They have large functional caeca, and a large crop, while the oil-gland is generally tufted, though it is nude in the Megapodes and absent altogether in certain Pheasants, such as Argusianus.

The Order Galliformes is divided into four suborders : the Mescenatides with the single family Mescenatidae for the anamolous Madagascar Mesite; the Turnices, which embraces the families Turnicidce, or Hemipodes, and the Pedionomidce, or Collared Hemipodes; the Galli, which includes three families, the Megapodidoe, or Megapodes, the Cracidoe, or Curassows, and Guans, and the Phasianide, or Turkeys, Partridges, Quails, Pheasants, etc.; and, finally, the Opisthocomi, which includes only the South American Hoactzin, though the last is usually, and perhaps with good reason, separated as a distinct order.