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CLASS AVES. ZOOLOGY. CLASS AVES. 9,700 species the largest class of terrestrial vertebrates. Among living vertebrates, only birds and bats can fly. The bodies of birds are well adapted to flight. CLASS AVES.

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class aves

CLASS AVES

ZOOLOGY

class aves1
CLASS AVES
  • 9,700 species
  • the largest class of terrestrial vertebrates.
  • Among living vertebrates, only birds and bats can fly.
  • The bodies of birds are well adapted to flight.
class aves2
CLASS AVES
  • Birds are so distinctive that it is difficult to mistake one for any other kind of vertebrate.
  • There are seven important characteristics of birds.
feathers
FEATHERS
  • Feathers are unique to birds, and all birds have them.
  • Like hair, feathers are composed mainly of the versatile protein keratin.
  • Feathers serve two functions:
    • Essential for flight
    • Insulate a bird’s body against heat loss
wings
WINGS
  • A bird’s forelimbs are modified into a pair of wings.
  • Feathers cover most of the surface area of the wing.
skeleton
SKELETON
  • Skeleton is lightweight and rigid
  • Reflects the requirements of flight.
    • Many of the bones are thin-walled and hollow, making them lighter than the bones of nonflying animals.
    • Air sacs from the respiratory system penetrate some of the bones.
  • Because many bones are fused, the skeleton is rigid and can resist the forces produced by the strong flight muscles.
endothermic metabolism
ENDOTHERMIC METABOLISM
  • A bird’s rapid metabolism supplies the energy needed for flight.
  • Birds maintain a high body temperature of 40–41°C (104–106°F).
unique respiratory system
UNIQUE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
  • Rapid metabolism requires an abundant supply of oxygen, and birds have the most efficient respiratory system of any terrestrial vertebrates.
  • The lungs are connected to several sets of air sacs, an arrangement that ensures that oxygen-rich air is always in the lungs.
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BEAK
  • No modern bird has teeth, but the jaws are covered by a tough, horny sheath called a beak.
oviparity
OVIPARITY
  • All birds lay amniotic eggs encased in a hard, calcium-containing shell.
  • In most species, the eggs are incubated in a nest by one or both parents.