Charadriiformes (Auks, Gulls & Puffins) and Families | Skulls Unlimited International, Inc. 1-800-659-SKULL

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Auks, Gulls & Puffins

The Order Charadriiformes, comprising of several hundred species, is subdivided into three suborders. The Charadrii consist of plovers, oystercatchers, snipe, and woodcock. The Lari contains gulls, and terns. The Alcae includes auks, guillemots, razorbills, and puffins. Members of this large order are found nearly everywhere, occupying many habitat types throughout the world. All Charadriiformes are members of the class Aves or Birds.

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FAMILIES in the Class Charadriiformes

Alcidae ( Auklets,Murrelets & Puffins. )

Alcidae (Auklets,Murrelets & Puffins.)
The family Alcidae includes approximately 25 species of auks, auklets, murrelets and puffins. They are superficially similar to penguins due to their black-and-white colors, their upright posture and some of their habits. Nevertheless they are not closely related to the penguins, but rather are an example of moderate convergent evolution.

Charadriidae ( Plovers & Allies )

Charadriidae (Plovers & Allies)
The bird family Charadriidae includes approximately 65 species of plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They range in size from the Collared Plover, at 5.5 inches, to the Masked Lapwing, at 14 inches.

Laridae ( Gulls )

Laridae (Gulls)
The family Laridae is comprised of approximately 55 species of gulls, often informally called seagulls. Until recently, most gulls were placed in the genus Larus, but are now divided into several genera. Gulls are medium to large birds, usually grey or white with black markings on the head or wings. Gulls typically have harsh wailing or squawking calls.

Rynchopidae ( Skimmers )

Rynchopidae (Skimmers)
The family Rynchopidae is a small family of three bird species commonly called skimmers. Skimmers are the only birds with distinctive uneven bills with the lower mandible longer than the upper. This remarkable adaptation allows them to fish in a unique way, flying low and fast over streams. Their lower mandible skims or slices over the water's surface ready to snap shut any small fish unable to dart clear.

Scolopacidae ( Sandpipers, Snipes etc. )

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes etc.)
The Scolopacidae are a large family of wading, or shore birds. Many of the smaller species are called "sandpipers". Other well-known groups include curlews and snipes. The majority of species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of bill enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.