Why study Avian Biology?
The function, features of the anatomical and physiological systems of the fowl are of
importance in their relationships to the production and marketing of poultry.
Originally all birds probably had the ability to fly (some have lost the ability to fly like:
ratites, ostrich, emu, rhea, cassowary, kiwi)
Various bird species belong to:
Galiformes (chickens turkey, guinea fowl, and pheasants-large bodied birds of terrestrial
habit, short wings, short beaks)
Avian species are warm blooded
Four chambered hearts
May be bipeds but they possess lots of different toe numbers, sizes, and shapes.
Genus and species names:
High body temperature (101-107F)
High resting pulse rate (300 beats per minute)
High resting respiration rate (14-22 breaths/minute)
High rate of food passage (2.5 minutes from mouth to vent)
Fusion of certain bones (rigidity for flight)
Adaptation of forelimbs into wings
body covering (skin and feathers)
Thin (outer layer)
Epidermis (feathers, beak, toenails, and scales)
Dermis –inner layer-
(comb, wattles, and earlobes)
Chickens have a single sebaceous gland (preen gland) at the tail
Various skin colors
Colors result from different combinations of pigments (carotenoids and melanin)
Common leg/shank colors are yellow, red, white, blue, green and black
Common earlobe colors are red or white
protection, insulation, essential for flight, serve as secondary sex characteristics.
-Annual renewal of the feather coat (molt) constitutes a considerable physiological expense to
-feathers are arranged in definite feather tracts across the body of the bird, these tracts are called
-10 major pterylae tracts are shoulder, thigh, rump, breast, neck, abdomen, leg wing, back, head.
-Feather color is a genetic trait and is of economic importance.
-market type chickens and turkeys in the us are predominately white feathered.
-coloration due to carotenoids (red and yellow) or melanin (brown)