Aves (Class)- Characteristics, Classification, Examples

Aves (Birds) are warm-blooded animal belongs to phylum Chordata and kingdom animal.

General Characteristics of Aves

  1. The members of Class-Aves are commonly known as birds.
  2. They are warm-blooded vertebrates with an exoskeleton of feathers.
  3. The forelimbs are modified into wings for flight.
  4. The hindlimbs are adapted for walking, perching or swimming.
  5. Skin glands are absent except the oil glands on tail.
  6. The bones are spongy and light due to the air cavities.
  7. The skull is monocondylic.
  8. The lower jaw is made up of five or six bones.
  9. Teeth are absent. A horny beak is present.
  10. The vertebrae are heterocoelous, procoelous or amphicoelous.
  11. The sacral vertebrae are fused with lumbar to form synsacrum.
  12. The caudal vertebrae from pygostyle in most of the members.
  13. The sternum is broad with boat-shaped keel.
  14. The clavicle and interclavicles form “V shaped furcula.
  15. The gullet is dilated into crop and a muscular gizzard for grinding purposes. Cloaca is three chambered
  16. Lungs are spongy and non-distensible. Air sacs are present.
  17. Syrinx produces the voice.
  18. Heart is perfectly 4-chambered and only right aortic arch is present.
  19. Red blood corpuscles are oval, biconvex and nucleated.
  20. Renal portal system is vestigial.
  21. Kidneys are metanephric. Urinary bladder is absent.
  22. Cerebral hemispheres and cerebellum are large.
  23. Sexes are separate. Sexual dimorphism is well marked.
  24. Only left ovary is present. The right ovary is vestigial and the right oviduct is atrophied.
  25. Internal fertilization, oviparous.
  26. The embryo is surrounded by amnion, allantois and a large yolk sac.
  27. Parental care is well-developed.

Classification of Aves

Examples of Aves

1. Columba

Classification of Columba

SubphylumVertebrata (Craniata)
Super OrderCraniatae
GenusColumba (Pigeon)


It is widely distributed in Asia, Europe, North Africa and is plentiful in Palestine.

Habit and Habitat

  1. Columbia levia is the common pigeon found all over India.
  2. In its wild state it lives in fissures and holes in rocks, but never nest on trees. It also nests in sheds, warehouse, old buildings, railway stations etc.
  3. They roost together and fly in flocks.

Characteristics of Columba

  1. Columba is commonly known as Blue rock-pigeon.
  2. It is a familiar slaty-grey bird with glistening, metallic, green-purple and magenta green on the neck and upper breast.
  3. There are two dark bars on wings and a band across the end of tail.
  4. Both the sexes are alike and measure about 35 cm. or more in length.
  5. Food chiefly comprises cereals, pulses and groundnuts.
  6. Head contains large eyes and slit-like nostrils.
  7. The forelimbs are modified as wings.
  8. The hindlimbs are modified for bipedal locomotion.
  9. Tail is short.
  10. Breeding season lasts all the year round.
  11. Fertilization is internal.
  12. Oviparous, eggs are incubated by parents.
  13. Parental care is present and nestlings are fed on pigeon’s milk prepared in the crop of parents by certain glands.
  14. It is wild as well as a domesticated bird.
Columbia Levia (Blue rock pigeon) Diagram
Columbia Levia (Blue rock pigeon) Diagram

2. Anas

Classification of Anas

SubphylumVertebrata (Craniata)
Super OrderCraniatae

Characteristics of Anas

  1. Anas is commonly known as ‘Duck’.
  2. It lives in fresh-water ponds, lakes and streams.
  3. The body is compact and short with ‘S’ shaped neck.
  4. The beak is broad and blunt. Transverse lamellae are present on jaws. Teeth are absent. It acts as sieve to filter out water and trap small fish.
  5. The beak is covered by soft skin. The plumage is made waterproof by the secretions of uropygial glands in the skin.
  6. Feet are adapted for swimming in the water. The hallux is elevated and the rest three toes are joined by web.
  7. It has desmognathous palate.
  8. Anas is diurnal and feeds on fishes.
  9. It does not build a nest.
Anas (Duck) Diagram
Anas (Duck) Diagram

3. Corvus

Classification of Corvus

SubphylumVertebrata (Craniata)
Sub OrderNeognathae


Corvus splendens is abundantly found throughout India.

Habit and Habitat

  • It prefers to live in close association with man. It is cunning, bold an omnivorous bird.

Characteristics of Corvus

  1. Corvus is commonly known as ‘House crow’ in English .
  2. It measures about 40 cm. in length.
  3. The body is more or less black in color while the neck and breast are covered with grey plumage.
  4. Beak is stout and elongated, eyes are large.
  5. Each leg bears 4 clawed toes, three directed forwards and one backwards.
  6. It is omnivorous, eats almost anything like the dead rat, kitchen refuge, eggs, locusts, fruits and grains.
  7. Nest is a platform of twigs with a cup-like depression, lined without coir fibres etc.
  8. It is useful as an efficient municipal scavenger and unfailing commensal.
  9. Causes damage to fruit crops.
  10. It is an intelligent and cunning bird and avoids dangers.
Corvus (House crow) Diagram
Corvus (House crow) Diagram

4. Psittacula Krameri

Classification of Psittacula Krameri

SubphylumVertebrata (Craniata)
Super OrderNeognathae


  • It is found in India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the United States.

Habits and Habitat

  • Commonly found on the fruit trees in the countryside and in forests.
  • Gregarious with loud voice, feeds exclusively on fruits and grains.

Characteristics of Psittacula Krameri

  1. It is commonly known as ‘Parrot‘.
  2. It is a beautiful bird with bright green plumage.
  3. Beak is generally bright red in color. It is short, stout, sharp edged and curved.
  4. Male birds with a rose colored collar round the neck.
  5. Tail is long and the limbs are modified for grasping.
  6. Parrot lays its eggs in trees or buildings.
  7. It can imitate sound if trained.
  8. Causes much damage to the crops.
  9. It is a popular domestic cage bird.
Parrot Labelled Diagram
Parrot Labelled Diagram

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