Birds are the most completely studied class of vertebrates other than mammals. Recent estimates suggests that fewer than two percent of the living species of birds remain to be described (Carroll 1988; Welty 1982). At present there is general agreement that there are about 8,900 living species of birds grouped into approximately 166 families consisting of about 27 orders (Parkes 1975). While nearly all of the living orders have some fossil record, it has contributed little to the understanding of the interrelation of modern orders. Modern authors maintain that there was a major dichotomy between two large groups of birds — the water bird assemblage and the land bird assemblage and each of these assemblages can be further divided into primitive and advanced forms (Fedducia 1980; Olson 1985).


Zebra Finch Perceptual Category Sound Localization Small Bird Song Sparrow 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1992

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  • Robert J. Dooling

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