Birds known as Aves, are a group of endothermic vertebrates, characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, a strong yet lightweight skeleton. Birds range in size from the 5 cm bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m ostrich. They rank as the world's most numerically-successful class of tetrapods, with ten thousand living species, more than half of these being passerines, sometimes known as perching birds. Birds have wings which are less developed depending on the species. Wings, which evolved from forelimbs, gave birds the ability to fly, although further evolution has led to the loss of flight in flightless birds, including ratites and diverse endemic island species of birds; the digestive and respiratory systems of birds are uniquely adapted for flight. Some bird species of aquatic environments seabirds and some waterbirds, have further evolved for swimming; the fossil record demonstrates that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs, having evolved from earlier feathered dinosaurs within the theropod group, which are traditionally placed within the saurischian dinosaurs.
The closest living relatives of birds are the crocodilians. Primitive bird-like dinosaurs that lie outside class Aves proper, in the broader group Avialae, have been found dating back to the mid-Jurassic period, around 170 million years ago. Many of these early "stem-birds", such as Archaeopteryx, were not yet capable of powered flight, many retained primitive characteristics like toothy jaws in place of beaks, long bony tails. DNA-based evidence finds that birds diversified around the time of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene extinction event 66 million years ago, which killed off the pterosaurs and all the non-avian dinosaur lineages, but birds those in the southern continents, survived this event and migrated to other parts of the world while diversifying during periods of global cooling. This makes them the sole surviving dinosaurs according to cladistics; some birds corvids and parrots, are among the most intelligent animals. Many species annually migrate great distances. Birds are social, communicating with visual signals and bird songs, participating in such social behaviours as cooperative breeding and hunting and mobbing of predators.
The vast majority of bird species are monogamous for one breeding season at a time, sometimes for years, but for life. Other species have breeding systems that are polygynous or polyandrous. Birds produce offspring by laying eggs, they are laid in a nest and incubated by the parents. Most birds have an extended period of parental care after hatching; some birds, such as hens, lay eggs when not fertilised, though unfertilised eggs do not produce offspring. Many species of birds are economically important as food for human consumption and raw material in manufacturing, with domesticated and undomesticated birds being important sources of eggs and feathers. Songbirds and other species are popular as pets. Guano is harvested for use as a fertiliser. Birds prominently figure throughout human culture. About 120–130 species have become extinct due to human activity since the 17th century, hundreds more before then. Human activity threatens about 1,200 bird species with extinction, though efforts are underway to protect them.
Recreational birdwatching is an important part of the ecotourism industry. The first classification of birds was developed by Francis Willughby and John Ray in their 1676 volume Ornithologiae. Carl Linnaeus modified that work in 1758 to devise the taxonomic classification system in use. Birds are categorised as the biological class Aves in Linnaean taxonomy. Phylogenetic taxonomy places Aves in the dinosaur clade Theropoda. Aves and a sister group, the clade Crocodilia, contain the only living representatives of the reptile clade Archosauria. During the late 1990s, Aves was most defined phylogenetically as all descendants of the most recent common ancestor of modern birds and Archaeopteryx lithographica. However, an earlier definition proposed by Jacques Gauthier gained wide currency in the 21st century, is used by many scientists including adherents of the Phylocode system. Gauthier defined Aves to include only the crown group of the set of modern birds; this was done by excluding most groups known only from fossils, assigning them, instead, to the Avialae, in part to avoid the uncertainties about the placement of Archaeopteryx in relation to animals traditionally thought of as theropod dinosaurs.
Gauthier identified four different definitions for the same biological name "Aves", a problem. Gauthier proposed to reserve the term Aves only for the crown group consisting of the last common ancestor of all living birds and all of its descendants, which corresponds to meaning number 4 below, he assigned other names to the other groups. Aves can mean all archosaurs closer to birds than to crocodiles Aves can mean those advanced archosaurs with feathers Aves can mean those feathered dinosaurs that fly Aves can mean the last common ancestor of all the living birds and all of its descendants (a "c
Fossilworks is a portal which provides query and analysis tools to facilitate access to the Paleobiology Database, a large relational database assembled by hundreds of paleontologists from around the world. Fossilworks is housed at Macquarie University, it includes many analysis and data visualization tools included in the Paleobiology Database. "Fossilworks". Retrieved 2010-04-08
The brown trembler is a species of bird in the Mimidae family. Northern birds from Guadeloupe northwards may represent a separate species from those on Dominica and St. Vincent, it is found in the Lesser Antilles where it breeds on Saba, St. Kitts, Montserrat, Dominica and St. Vincent, it occurred on St. Eustatius, its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, degraded former forest. Hunt, Jeffrey S.. "Molecular systematics and biogeography of Antillean Thrashers and Mockingbirds", Auk, 118: 35-55
John Gould FRS was an English ornithologist and bird artist. He published a number of monographs on birds, illustrated by plates that he produced with the assistance of his wife, Elizabeth Gould, several other artists including Edward Lear, Henry Constantine Richter, Joseph Wolf and William Matthew Hart, he has been considered the father of bird study in Australia and the Gould League in Australia is named after him. His identification of the birds now nicknamed "Darwin's finches" played a role in the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. Gould's work is referenced On the Origin of Species. Gould was born in Lyme Regis the first son of a gardener, he and the boy had a scanty education. Shortly afterwards his father obtained a position on an estate near Guildford, in 1818 Gould became foreman in the Royal Gardens of Windsor, he was for some time under the care of the Royal Gardens of Windsor. The young Gould started training as a gardener, being employed under his father at Windsor from 1818 to 1824, he was subsequently a gardener at Ripley Castle in Yorkshire.
He became an expert in the art of taxidermy. In 1824 he set himself up in business in London as a taxidermist, his skill helped him to become the first Curator and Preserver at the museum of the Zoological Society of London in 1827. Gould's position brought him into contact with the country's leading naturalists; this meant that he was the first to see new collections of birds given to the Zoological Society of London. In 1830 a collection of birds arrived from the Himalayas, many not described. Gould published these birds in A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains; the text was by Nicholas Aylward Vigors and the illustrations were drawn and lithographed by Gould's wife Elizabeth Coxen Gould. Most of Gould's work were rough sketches on paper from which other artists created the lithographic plates; this work was followed by four more in the next seven years, including Birds of Europe in five volumes. It was completed in 1837; the plates were lithographed by Elizabeth Coxen Gould. A few of the illustrations were made by Edward Lear as part of his Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae in 1832.
Lear, was in financial difficulty, he sold the entire set of lithographs to Gould. The books were published in a large size, imperial folio, with magnificent coloured plates. 41 of these volumes were published, with about 3000 plates. They appeared in parts at £3 3s. A number, subscribed for in advance, in spite of the heavy expense of preparing the plates, Gould succeeded in making his ventures pay, realising a fortune; this was a busy period for Gould who published Icones Avium in two parts containing 18 leaves of bird studies on 54 cm plates as a supplement to his previous works. No further monographs were published as in 1838 he and his wife moved to Australia to work on the Birds of Australia. Shortly after their return to England, his wife died in 1841. Elizabeth Gould completed 84 plates for Birds of Australia before her death; when Charles Darwin presented his mammal and bird specimens collected during the second voyage of HMS Beagle to the Zoological Society of London on 4 January 1837, the bird specimens were given to Gould for identification.
He set aside his paying work and at the next meeting on 10 January reported that birds from the Galápagos Islands which Darwin had thought were blackbirds, "gross-bills" and finches were in fact "a series of ground Finches which are so peculiar" as to form "an new group, containing 12 species." This story made the newspapers. In March, Darwin met Gould again, learning that his Galápagos "wren" was another species of finch and the mockingbirds he had labelled by island were separate species rather than just varieties, with relatives on the South American mainland. Subsequently, Gould advised that the smaller southern Rhea specimen, rescued from a Christmas dinner was a separate species which he named Rhea darwinii, whose territory overlapped with the northern rheas. Darwin had not bothered to label his finches by island, but others on the expedition had taken more care, he now sought specimens collected by crewmen. From them he was able to establish that the species were unique to islands, an important step on the inception of his theory of evolution by natural selection.
Gould's work on the birds was published between 1838 and 1842 in five numbers as Part 3 of Zoology of the Voyage of H. M. S. Beagle, edited by Charles Darwin. Elizabeth Gould illustrated all the plates for Part 3. In 1838 the Goulds sailed to Australia, intending to study the birds of that country and be the first to produce a major work on the subject, they took with them the collector John Gilbert. They arrived in Tasmania in September, making the acquaintance of the governor Sir John Franklin and his wife. Gould and Gilbert collected on the island. In February 1839 Gould sailed to Sydney, he travelled to his brother-in-law's station at Yarrundi, spending his time searching for bowerbirds in the Liverpool Range. In April he returned to Tasmania for the birth of his son. In May he sailed to Adelaide to meet Charles Sturt, preparing to lead an expedition to the Murray River. Gould collected in the Mount Lofty range, the Murray Scrubs and Kangaroo Island, returning again to Hobart in July, he travelled with his wife to Yarrundi.
They returned home to England in May 1840. The result of the trip was The Birds of Australia, it included a total of 600 plates in seven volumes.
Mockingbirds are a group of New World passerine birds from the Mimidae family. They are best known for the habit of some species mimicking the songs of other birds and the sounds of insects and amphibians loudly and in rapid succession. There are about 17 species in three genera; these do not appear to form a monophyletic lineage: Mimus and Nesomimus are quite related. Melanotis is more distinct; the only mockingbird found in North America is the northern mockingbird. The Greek word polyglottos means multiple languages. Mimus: Brown-backed mockingbird, Mimus dorsalis Bahama mockingbird, Mimus gundlachii Long-tailed mockingbird, Mimus longicaudatus Patagonian mockingbird, Mimus patagonicus Chilean mockingbird, Mimus thenca White-banded mockingbird, Mimus triurus Northern mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos Socorro mockingbird, Mimus graysoni Tropical mockingbird, Mimus gilvus Chalk-browed mockingbird, Mimus saturninusFormerly Nesomimus: Hood mockingbird, Mimus macdonaldi Galápagos mockingbird, Mimus parvulus Floreana mockingbird or Charles mockingbird, Mimus trifasciatus San Cristóbal mockingbird, Mimus melanotisMelanotis: Blue mockingbird, Melanotis caerulescens Blue-and-white mockingbird, Melanotis hypoleucus When the survey voyage of HMS Beagle visited the Galápagos Islands in September to October 1835, the naturalist Charles Darwin noticed that the mockingbirds Mimus thenca differed from island to island, were allied in appearance to mockingbirds on the South American mainland.
Nearly a year when writing up his notes on the return voyage he speculated that this, together with what he had been told about Galápagos tortoises, could undermine the doctrine of stability of species. This was his first recorded expression of his doubts about species being immutable, which led to his being convinced about the transmutation of species and hence evolution. Mockingbird videos and sound recordings on the Internet Bird Collection
George Robert Gray
George Robert Gray FRS was an English zoologist and author, head of the ornithological section of the British Museum, now the Natural History Museum, in London for forty-one years. He was the younger brother of the zoologist John Edward Gray and the son of the botanist Samuel Frederick Gray. George Gray's most important publication was his Genera of Birds, illustrated by David William Mitchell and Joseph Wolf, which included 46,000 references, he was born in Little Chelsea, London to Samuel Frederick Gray and pharmacologist, Elizabeth, his wife. He was educated at Merchant Taylor's School. Gray started at the British Museum as Assistant Keeper of the Zoology Branch in 1831, he began by cataloguing insects, published an Entomology of Australia and contributed the entomogical section to an English edition of Georges Cuvier's Animal Kingdom. Gray described many species of Lepidoptera. In 1833, he was a founder of. Gray's original description of Gray's grasshopper warbler, named for him, appeared in 1860.
The specimen had been collected by Alfred Russel Wallace in the Moluccas. In a brief biography dealing with Gray's work on phasmids, Bragg credits Gray with more than doubling the number of named species of phasmids with three publications. 1831 The Zoological Miscellany Zool. Miscell.: 1–40 1833 The Entomology of Australia, in a series of Monographs. Part I; the Monograph of the Genus Phasma. London. 1835 Synopsis of the species of insects belonging to the family of Phasmidae. London, Longmans. 48pp. 1844 List of the specimens of birds in the collection of the British Museum. London, Trustees of the British Museum. 1846 Descriptions and Figures of some new Lepidopterous Insects chiefly from Nepal. London, Brown and Longmans. 1843 Description of several species of the genus Phyllium. Zoologist, 1: 117–123. 1852 Catalogue of Lepidopterous Insects in the British Museum. Part 1. Papilionidae. "1852" iii + 84pp. 13pls. 1871 A fasciculus of the Birds of China. London and Francis. With Richard Bowdler Sharpe, The Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Erebus & HMS Terror.
Birds of New Zealand. 1875. The revised edition of Gray. European and American voyages of scientific exploration Biographies for Birdwatchers and Mearns, ISBN 0-12-487422-3 Plates and text from Gray's 1833 Monograph on Phasmidae Digitised works by or about George Robert Gray at Biodiversity Heritage Library
Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, chevalier de Lamarck known as Lamarck, was a French naturalist. He was a soldier, academic, an early proponent of the idea that biological evolution occurred and proceeded in accordance with natural laws. Lamarck fought in the Pomeranian War against Prussia, was awarded a commission for bravery on the battlefield. Posted to Monaco, Lamarck became resolved to study medicine, he retired from the army after being injured in 1766, returned to his medical studies. Lamarck developed a particular interest in botany, after he published the three-volume work Flore françoise, he gained membership of the French Academy of Sciences in 1779. Lamarck became involved in the Jardin des Plantes and was appointed to the Chair of Botany in 1788; when the French National Assembly founded the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in 1793, Lamarck became a professor of zoology. In 1801, he published Système des animaux sans vertèbres, a major work on the classification of invertebrates, a term he coined.
In an 1802 publication he became one of the first to use the term biology in its modern sense. Lamarck continued his work as a premier authority on invertebrate zoology, he is remembered, at least in malacology, as a taxonomist of considerable stature. The modern era remembers Lamarck for a theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, called soft inheritance, Lamarckism or use/disuse theory, which he described in his 1809 Philosophie Zoologique. However, the idea of soft inheritance long predates him, formed only a small element of his theory of evolution, was in his time accepted by many natural historians. Lamarck's contribution to evolutionary theory consisted of the first cohesive theory of biological evolution, in which an alchemical complexifying force drove organisms up a ladder of complexity, a second environmental force adapted them to local environments through use and disuse of characteristics, differentiating them from other organisms. Scientists have debated whether advances in the field of transgenerational epigenetics mean that Lamarck was to an extent correct, or not.
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was born in Bazentin, northern France, as the eleventh child in an impoverished aristocratic family. Male members of the Lamarck family had traditionally served in the French army. Lamarck's eldest brother was killed in combat at the Siege of Bergen op Zoom, two other brothers were still in service when Lamarck was in his teenage years. Yielding to the wishes of his father, Lamarck enrolled in a Jesuit college in Amiens in the late 1750s. After his father died in 1760, Lamarck bought himself a horse, rode across the country to join the French army, in Germany at the time. Lamarck showed great physical courage on the battlefield in the Pomeranian War with Prussia, he was nominated for the lieutenancy. Lamarck's company was left exposed to the direct artillery fire of their enemies, was reduced to just fourteen men – with no officers. One of the men suggested that the puny, seventeen-year-old volunteer should assume command and order a withdrawal from the field; when their colonel reached the remains of their company, this display of courage and loyalty impressed him so much that Lamarck was promoted to officer on the spot.
However, when one of his comrades playfully lifted him by the head, he sustained an inflammation in the lymphatic glands of the neck, he was sent to Paris to receive treatment. He was settled at his post in Monaco, it was there that he encountered Traité des plantes a botany book by James Francis Chomel. With a reduced pension of only 400 francs a year, Lamarck resolved to pursue a profession, he attempted to study medicine, supported himself by working in a bank office. Lamarck gave it up under his elder brother's persuasion, he was interested in botany after his visits to the Jardin du Roi, he became a student under Bernard de Jussieu, a notable French naturalist. Under Jussieu, Lamarck spent ten years studying French flora. After his studies, in 1778, he published some of his observations and results in a three-volume work, entitled Flore françoise. Lamarck's work was respected by many scholars, it launched him into prominence in French science. On 8 August 1778 Lamarck married Marie Anne Rosalie Delaporte.
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, one of the top French scientists of the day, mentored Lamarck, helped him gain membership to the French Academy of Sciences in 1779 and a commission as a Royal Botanist in 1781, in which he traveled to foreign botanical gardens and museums. Lamarck's first son, André, was born on 22 April 1781 and he made his colleague André Thouin the child's godfather. In his two years of travel, Lamarck collected rare plants that were not available in the Royal Garden, other objects of natural history, such as minerals and ores, that were not found in French museums. On 7 January 1786 his second son, was born, Lamarck chose Antoine Laurent de Jussieu, Bernard de Jussieu's nephew, as the boy's godfather. On 21 April Lamarck's third son, was born. René Louiche Desfontaines, a professor of botany at the Royal Garden, was the boy's godfather, Lamarck's elder sister, Marie Charlotte Pelagie De Monet was the godmother. In 1788, Buffon's successor at the position of Intendant of the Royal Garden, Charles-Claude Flahaut de la Billaderie, comte d'Angiviller, created a position for Lamarck, with a yearly salary of 1,000 francs