Charadriiformes is the name of the order in which Shorebirds, Gulls, and Alcids are
grouped.These groups have quite different characteristics. All the birds in it spend a lot of time
either swimming or wading, whether in the ocean or in fresh water.
Some of the families have webbed toes, and others have seperated toes. The Shorebirds are
usually speckled - either brown and white, or gray and white. The seagoing species are most
often black on the back and white on the front. Most of this order migrate very long distances.
Many live on the shores of fresh water lakes. Some live almost entirely at sea and are called
"pelagic" birds. This term "pelagic" comes from the Latin word pelagus, meaning "the
open sea". This group can "fly" under water using their wings to swim when submerged.
The name Charadriiformes comes from a Latin root meaning "to cut into furrows". This
may refer to the generally striped appearance of Shorebirds. There are ten families of this order
occuring in North America. Let's have a look at them.
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