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Birds are vertebrates that are characterized primarily by their adaptations to flight. Their bones are hollow and modified, something which is most evident in their forelimbs, which fuse to form the wings. Their bodies are covered with feathers, are endothermic (their constant temperature is maintained by metabolism) and they have internal air sacs located in the abdomen. These animals eat constantly to maintain the high metabolism necessary for flight. Their tongue is modified depending on their diet, since all birds lack teeth (Miller and Harley, 1996).

There are estimated to be between 9,000 (Burnie, 2003) and 9,720 species of birds in the world (Dickinson, 2003). Mexican birds are a particularly important group because Mexico is ranked 8th in the world in terms of number of bird species (according to the authors approximately 1,100) since it presents a mix of birds of nearctic and neotropical origin, and also has a significant number of endemic species (more than 100 of the total Mexican species, which is equivalent to around 9%). Birds are classified into 29 orders, of which 22 are present in Mexico.


The tradition of studying this group goes back to the era of exploration by European naturalists to the American continent during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. However, much of the knowledge of the group until now has been provided by experts dedicated to observation of birds and development of field guides or manuals.



(spanish)
Most of the collections of Mexican specimens are housed in collections abroad, a situation which hinders access to information and therefore makes the generation of taxonomic revisions difficult. This makes it necessary to have a standard international taxonomic nomenclature of the group of birds; the information provided by the American Ornithologist's Union (AOU) is a source of reference for those interested in the study of this group.

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