Passerine

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A passerine is a bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or, less accurately, as songbirds, the passerines form one of the most diverse terrestrial vertebrate orders: with over 5,000 identified species,[1] it is roughly twice as species rich as the largest of the mammal orders, the Rodentia.

The names "passerines" and "Passeriformes" are derived from Passer domesticus, the scientific name of the type species — the House Sparrow — and ultimately from the Latin term passer for Passer sparrows and similar small birds.

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Characteristics

The order is divided into three suborders, Tyranni (suboscines), Passeri (oscines), and the basal Acanthisitti. Oscines have the best control of their syrinx muscles among birds, producing a wide range of songs and other vocalizations (though some of them, such as the crows, do not sound musical to human beings); some such as the lyrebird are accomplished imitators. The Acanthisittids or New Zealand wrens are tiny birds restricted to New Zealand, at least in modern times; they were long placed in Passeri; their taxonomic position is uncertain, though they seem to be a distinct and very ancient group.

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