/pas"euhr in, -euh ruyn', -euh reen'/, adj.1. of, belonging, or pertaining to the order Passeriformes, comprising more than half of all birds and typically having the feet adapted for perching.2. oscine (def. 1).n.3. any bird of the order Passeriformes.[1770-80; < L passerinus of a sparrow, equiv. to passer sparrow + -inus -INE1]
* * *Any perching bird.All passerines belong to the largest order of birds, Passeriformes, and have feet specialized for holding onto a horizontal branch (perching). The passerine foot has three forward-directed toes and one backward-directed toe. Most passerines have moderately curved, sharp claws. Some ground-dwelling species (e.g., larks, pipits) have flatter, longer feet. Species that spend much time airborne (e.g., swallows) have small, weak feet. Species that cling and climb (e.g., nuthatches) have strong, sharp, curved claws. Passerines include about 4,000 species of oscines (songbirds; suborder Passere, or Oscines) and 1,100 species of suboscines (suborders Eurylaimi, called broadbills; Tyranni, including flycatchers; and Menurae, including lyrebirds). Suboscines lack the syrinx of the songbirds or have only a poorly developed one, but some can utter complex vocalizations. All passerines are land birds, abundant worldwide except in Antarctica. Most are insectivorous, solitary nesters that build a cup-shaped open nest.
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