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The Sheath-bills, Chionis (2 sp.), are curious white birds, whose thick bill has a horny sheath at the base. Their nearest ally is Haematopus, a genus of Charadriidae. These birds are confined to the Antarctic Islands, especially the Falkland Islands, the Crozets and Kerguelen's Land.
The Thinocoridae, or Quail-snipes, are small birds, confined to Temperate South America. They have much the appearance of Quails but are more nearly allied to Plovers. The two genera 3.Te — .
Attagis (4 sp.), Falkland Islands, Straits of Magellan, Chili, Bolivia, and the High Andes of Peru and Ecuador; Thinocorus (2 sp.), La Plata, Chili, and Peru. (Plate XVI. Vol. II. p. 40.)
The Parridae, or Jacanas, are remarkable long-toed birds, often of elegant plumage, frequenting swamps and marshes, and walking on the floating leaves of aquatic plants. They are found in all the tropics. Parra (10 sp.), has the distribution of the family; Hydrophasianus (1 sp.), is confined to the Oriental region.
This family, comprising the Pratincoles and Coursers, is universally distributed over the Old World and to Australia.
Glareola (9 sp.), has the distribution of the family; Pluvianus (1 sp.), is confined to North Africa; Cursorius (10 sp.), ranges over Africa, South Europe and India.
The position of the genus Glareola is uncertain, for though generally classed here, Prof. Lilljeborg considers it to be an aberrant form of the Caprimulgidae . It differs, in its insectivorous habits and in many points of external structure, from all its allies, and should probably form a distinct family.
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The extensive family of the Plovers and their numerous allies, ranges over the whole globe. The genera now usually admitted into this family are the following:— .
GEdicnemus (9 sp.), is only absent from North America; 4}saeus (2 sp.), India to Ceylon, Malay Islands and Australia ; Vanellus (3 sp.), Palaearctic and Neotropical regions; Chaetusia (15 sp.), the whole Eastern Hemisphere; Erythrogonys (1 sp.), Australia; Hoplopterus (10 sp.), widely scattered, but absent from North America; Squatarola (1 sp.), all the regions; ChaTadrius (14 sp.), cosmopolitan ; Eudromias (5 sp.), Eastern Hemisphere and South Temperate America; Algialitis (22 sp.), cosmopolitan ; Oreophilus (1 sp.), South Temperate America; Thinornis (2 sp.), New Zealand; Anarhynchus (1 sp.), New Zealand (Plate XIII. Vol I. p. 455); Haematopus (9 sp.), cosmopolitan ; Strepsilas (2 sp.) almost cosmopolitan; Aphriza (1 sp.), West Coast of America; Pluvianellus (1 sp.), Straits of Magellan; Dromas (1 sp.), India, Madagascar, and North-east Africa; Pedionomus (1 sp.), Australia. This last genus has usually been placed with the Turnicidae.
The Otididae, or Bustards, occur in all parts of the Old World and Australia where there are open tracts, being only absent from Madagascar and the Malay Archipelago. Otis (2 sp.), ranges over most of the Palaearctic region; while Eupodotis (24 sp.), has the range of the family, but is most abundant in the Ethiopian region, which contains three-fourths of the whole number of species.
The Gruidae, or Cranes, are found in all the regions except the Neotropical.
Grus (12 sp.) inhabits the southern and western United States, the whole Palaearctic region, South-east Africa, India, and Australia; Anthropoides (2 sp.), Europe, North and South Africa and India; Balearica (2 sp.), the Ethiopian region (except Madagascar).
The genus Cariama (2 sp.), consists of remarkable crested birds inhabiting the mountains and open plains of Brazil and La Plata. In the British Museum Catalogue of the Birds of Prey, they are classed as aberrant Falconidae, but their anomalous characters seem to require them to be placed in a distinct family, which seems better placed among the Waders.
The Guaraúnas are birds which have somewhat the appearance of Herons, but which are usually classed with the Rails. They are now, however, considered to form a distinct family. The only genus, Aramus (2 sp.), inhabits the Neotropical region, from Mexico and Cuba to Central Brazil.
The remarkable and beautiful birds called Trumpeters, are confined to the various parts of the Amazon valley; and it is an interesting fact, that the range of each species appears to be bounded by some of the great rivers. Thus, Psophia crepitans inhabits the interior of Guiana as far as the south bank of the Rio Negro; on the opposite or north bank of the Rio Negro Psophia ochroptera is found; beyond the next great rivers, Japura and Iga, Psophia napensis occurs; on the South bank of the Amazon, west of the Madeira, we have the beautiful Psophia leucoptera ; east of the Madeira this is replaced by Psophia viridis, while near Pará, beyond the Tapajoz, Xingu and Tocantins, there is another species, Psophia obscura. Other species may exist in the intervening river districts; but we have here, apparently, a case of a number of well-marked species of birds capable of flight, yet with their range in certain directions accurately defined by great rivers. (Plate XV. Vol. II, p. 28.)
The Eurypygidae, or Sun-Bitterns, are small heron-like birds with beautifully-coloured wings, which frequent the muddy and wooded river-banks of tropical America. The only genus, Eurypyga (2 sp.), ranges from Central America to Brazil.