VI. Order GALLINAE.
The Order Gallinae contains the whole of the true land Game-birds, including the Megapodes or Mound-birds but not the Tumid das or Bustard-Quails. In the present Order will be found the Peafowl, Jungle-fowl, Pheasants, Spur-fowl, Partridges, Quail and Megapodes—all represented within our limits,—besides the Grouse and many others, of which none enter our Indian region and the Grouse alone Asia.
All the genera contained in this Order are birds with strong well-built legs, well fitted for progress on the ground ; the tarsus is often furnished with one or more spurs, in some cases on that of the male only, in others on those of both sexes. The hallux or hind-toe is always present and the nails are in all but the Megopodiidae short, blunt, very strong and almost straight on their lower outline; the wings are rather short and rounded, the first primary very little longer or shorter than the tenth or last; the fifth secondary is always present.
The great majority of these birds lay their eggs on the ground, but the Megapodes make huge mounds in which they bury their eggs, whilst the Tragopans nest on trees. The young are hatched covered with down or feathers and can run about within a few moments of being hatched.
The body-feathers possess an aftershaft; the spinal feather-tract is well defined on the neck and continued down the back. An oil-gland is present except in Argusianus.
The deep plantar tendons are connected by a fibrous vinculum but divide again, the flexor perforans digitorum to supply the three front toes and the flexor longus hallucis the hallux. The ambiens muscle, accessory femoro-caudal, semi-tendinosus, and accessory semi-tendinosus are always present and the femoro-caudal on all but the Peafowl and Turkeys.
The palate schizognathous, the nostrils holorhinal. True basipterygoid processes are wanting but there are sessile facets situated far forward on the sphenoidal rostrum; cervical vertebras 16.
The sternum has two deep incisions on the posterior border on each side of the keel; the inner xiphoid process between the two is shorter than the outer, which is bent over the inner ribs and is expanded at the end. The episternal end of the rostrum is completely perforated to receive the inner ends of the coracoids.
The Order Gallinae is divided into two Suborders, Alectoropodes and Peristoropodes.
Key to Suborders.
A.Inner notch of sternum more than half the length of the entire sternum. Hal¬lux raised above level of anterior digits………….Alectoropodes, p. 280.
B.Inner notch of sternum less than half the length of the entire sternum. Hallux and anterior digits on the same level……………Peristoropodes, p. 436.