Re: Defining non - passerines

To: "mark kliene" <>, "birding aus" <>
Subject: Re: Defining non - passerines
From: "Philip A. Veerman" <>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 14:04:39 +1000
There is NO definitition of NON Passerine. It is simply all the bird orders apart from one (which happens to be the largest). We could also say NON Falconiform but it would not have the benefit of convenience. Just like "Invertebrate" are all animals that are not vertebrates and invertebrates don't have any defining features apart from the quality of exclusion. There is no feature that defines either taxon.
Passerines are one of several (about 28) orders of birds. They are defined by features of their feet (four toes, three face forward, one back, all joined at the same level and without webs and unjoined beyond that (except that our Treecreepers have partly joined toes, called syndactylous). Passerines' toes close automatically with flexure of the ankle. Also they share features of their syrinx. Beyond that presumably there are all sorts of biochemical, chromosomal and similar features that indicate relationship.
By the way, most bird orders can be easiest picked by the structure of their toes.

I also have a theory that all passerines fly with their legs (actually their feet) flexed forward (pointing towards the chest) at the ankle joint, whereas non-passerines fly with their legs (actually their feet) held straight backward (pointing towards the tail) at the ankle joint. It is my theory but I have never seen any exceptions to this. Does anyone out there have other ideas?
-----Original Message-----
From: mark kliene <>
To: m("","birding-aus");"> <m("","birding-aus");">>
Date: Saturday, 18 August 2001 0:03
Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] [Fwd: [Fwd: non - passerines]]

mark kliene wrote:

> mark kliene wrote:
> > Hi all,
> > Could someone be so kind as to provide me with the definitive definition
> > (tautology)
> > of what constitutes a non - passerine.
> > Appreciation in advance,
> >
> > Mark Kliene.

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