views updated

Passeriformes (perching birds, passerines; class Aves) An order of small to medium-sized birds which have widely varied plumage and shape. The bill is modified for a range of feeding habits. The feet have three toes pointing forward and one backward which assists perching. Nests can be simple or elaborate. Young are usually naked at hatching. Passerines can be terrestrial, aerial, or arboreal. The order is divided into 82 families, and contains more than 5000 species, 60% of the class. They are found world-wide.