Order XIX. STEGANOPODES.

This order contains the Pelicans, Frigate-birds, Cormorants, Gannets or Boobies, and Tropic-birds—all distinguished by having the four toes united by a web (fig. 76). There is a great difference between the preceding order—the schizognathous Gaviae—and that now under consideration. The Steganopodes are desmognathous birds, distinctly connected with the Accipitres, and might have followed the diurnal Birds of Prey in the classification. The orders to be hereafter discussed have more or less connexion with the Steganopodes.

The principal characters of the present order are the following:— All four t03s united by web, the hallux well developed and turned inwards. Skull desmognathous and holorhinal; basipterygoid processes absent; angle of mandible truncated. Furcula generally anchylosed to keel of sternum, least in Sula and Phaethon. Oil-gland tufted ; ca3ca variable ; tongue rudimentary. Deep plantar tendons united by a strong vinculum, and only a slender portion of the flexor longus hallucis reaches the hallux. Aquincubital; aftershaft rudimentary or wanting ; plumage of the neck continuous, without apteria. The eggs are somewhat variable ; the young are Latched blind, either naked or covered with down, but in all cases undergo a protracted downy stage, during which they are helpless and fed by the parent birds.

Families of Steganopodes.

a. Web between toes deeply emarginate; tail forked…………………………Fregatidae.
b. Web between toes not emarginate; tail rounded or cuneate.
a1. Middle tail-feathers not greatly produced ; nostrils not pervious.
a2. Size very large : bill long, flattened…………………………Pelecanidae.
b2. Size moderate : bill compressed.
a3. Bill slender, subcylindrical, or very elongate and pointed ; nostrils small…………………………Phalacrocoracidae.
b3. Bill stout, conical; no external nostrils. Sulidae. b1. Middle tail-feathers greatly produced ; nostrils pervious…………………………Phaethonidae.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds
Reference: 
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol. 4. 1898.
Title in Book: 
Order XIX. STEGANOPODES.
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1898
Page No: 
331
Volume: 
Vol. 4
id: 
2191

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