Order Eurypygiformes contains only a few species, and some of them are already extinct. Two living species in the order are the New Caledonian endemic Kagu and Sunbittern.
There are two direct families in Eurypygiformes, namely Eurypygidae (Sunbittern) and Rhynochetidae (Kagu). Also, there are only two species of birds in this order.
Order Eurypygiformes Characteristics
Here are some typical features seen in these birds:
- Both species are medium-sized.
- The kagu is a ground-living bird, and the total length is about 55 cm.
- Both the kagu and the sunbittern have plumage with an intricate pattern.
- Eurypygiformes have a long tail and long legs.
- These almost flightless species have slender necks, oval heads, and larger eyes.
- The kagu has a prominent feather crest.
- Eurypigiformes have a long, thing, and pointed beaks.
- Eupygiformes have a particular type of feathers – powder down. Note that Powder down feathers are special types of feathers where they produce a powdery substance which is believed to be utilized to clean and waterproof other feathers and keep away parasites.
Here are all the species known for this order:
- Eurypyga helias helias
- Eurypyga, helias eridionalis
- Lowland kagu – extinct species
- Aptornis – extinct species, relationship not proven.
- “Cytotaxonomy of Eurypyga helias (Gruiformes, Eurypygidae): First Karyotypic Description and Phylogenetic Proximity with Rynochetidae”. Accessed June 07, 2019. Link.
- “ITIS Standard Report Page: Eurypygiformes”. Accessed June 07, 2019. Link.