Monotypic order

Class: Aves Order: Cuculiformes One family: Cuculidae Number of species: 129 species

CHAPTER

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The Cuculidae family is also called the cuckoo family. It is a large family, with more than 128 species. Species in this family include common cuckoos, anis, and roadrunners. Birds range in length from the 5.1-inch (13-centimeter) pheasant cuckoo to the greater roadrunner, which is 22.1 inches (56 centimeters) long. Anis (ah-NEEZ) are also known as black cuckoos because of their dark plumage. The birds' heavy bill is either smooth or ridged. The greater ani is about 18.1 inches (46 centimeters) long.

Most Cuculidae are not colorful; their feathers are gray, black, or brown. They are slender and have narrow bills, long tails, and zygodactyl (zye-guh-DACK-tuhl) feet. Two toes on each foot face forward, and two face backward. Members of this family are terrestrial, meaning that some species live on land. However, they are able to fly.

phylum class subclass order monotypic order suborder family

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

Cuckoos are located on every continent except Antarctica. The great spotted cuckoo is found in countries including France, Iraq, and Egypt. The common cuckoo spends summers in Europe and Asia, then winters in Africa. The greater anis range in Central and South America. Greater roadrunners live in the United States and Mexico.

HABITAT

Members of this large family live in a variety of habitats. Some cuckoos range in rainforests, where heavy rainfall produces an abundance of trees. Greater anis live in tropical coniferous forests, where trees don't shed leaves. They also range in grasslands where there are few trees. Roadrunners live in the desert.

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