Sorry, No Picture! The order of birds called Galliformes gets its name from the Latin word gallina, meaning "hen". They are land birds with heavy bodies. They all have long legs, compared to some other birds like ducks, for instance. Their feet have four toes, with one pointing backwards for balance. They can perch on branches, but they seem to prefer running around on the ground. Their upper beaks have a downward hook on the end that is useful for digging out the seeds and insects they eat. Most of these birds depend on camouflage (colour patterns in their feathers that blend in with their surroundings) to hide from predators. Although they have short, rounded wings and aren't really strong fliers, they can take off almost straight up. They sit hidden until whatever is threatening them, is almost touching them. Then they seem to explode out of the scenery in a noisy flash of wings. They fly a short distance and land to disappear into the background again. These birds have some of the most interesting courtship displays in nature. To attract a mate, some puff up their throats and make strange noises as the air escapes. Some beat on hollow logs with their wings producing very loud "drum" sounds. Others spread out a display of special feathers on their head, neck or tail and strut their stuff proudly. There are four families of this order in North America. Most are permanent residents who do not migrate to warmer climates when the seasons change. [LH] {BA} {LE}
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