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Wild About Birds - Illinois Grebes, Pigeons, Doves and Cuckoos!

Family and Species Gallery

Kingdom: Animalia - Animals are multicellular organisms that rely on other organisms for nourishment. There cells do not have cell walls. Most animals are capable of movement at least in some portion of their life cycle. Reproduction is generally sexual, but in some animals asexual reproduction may be utilized at certain times.
Phylum: Chordata - The Phylum Chordata contains the vertebrate animals. Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes are included in this phylum. These animals have a notochord at some point in their development. They have a tubular nerve cord along the back. Gill slits and a tail are present at some point in their life cycle. They have an internal skeleton.
Class: Aves - Birds are the only organisms with feathers. They are endotherms, maintaining a nearly constant body temperature. They have a hard bill but no teeth. A gizzard, which functions to grind food, is present in the digestive tract. Fertilization is internal. A nest is built in which the hard-shelled eggs are deposited and incubated.
Order: Podicipediformes - The grebes are medium-sized aquatic birds with small legs. They have lobed toes and are good divers.
Family: Podicipedidae (Grebes) - The grebes are aquatic and duck-sized but with a small head. Both sexes are similar in appearance. They have lobed toes. The neck is slender and hangs loosely when they fly. They appear to jave no tail. The dive from the surface of the water or totally submerge themselves to look for food.
     pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
     horned grebe (Podiceps auritus)
     red-necked grebe (Podiceps grisegena)
     eared grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
     western grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis)

Order: Columbiformes - The pigeons and doves have a short beak, a short neck and short legs.
Family: Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves) - Pigeons and doves can be recognized by their cooing call. These birds have a small head and fly fast.
     rock pigeon (Columba livia) [nonnative]
     Eurasian collared-dove (Streptopelia decaocto) [nonnative]
     white-winged dove (Zenaida asiatica)
     mourning dove (Zenaida macroura)

Order: Cuculiformes - These birds have their toes arranged with two toward the front and twq toward the rear. The outer rear toe is reversible.
Family: Cuculidae (Cuckoos, Roadrunners, and Anis) - The cuckoos have a long tail on a thin body. Males and females are similar.
     yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)
     black-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus) [state threatened]