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Kids' Inquiry of Diverse Species

Local animals in this group:

kingfishers and relatives


There are over 250 species in this order, which includes kingfishers, bee-eaters, hornbills, and others . Most species are found in the Old World (Afria, Europe, and Asia) except for kingfishers which can be found worldwide. These birds differ greatly in size (small bee-eaters to very large hornbills) and plumage, but share an unusual characteristic: three of their toes are joined in the same skin at the base of their foot. In fact, two of the three toes are joined almost all the way. The fourth toe points backwards, as it does in many other birds.

University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyNational Science Foundation

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. "Coraciiformes" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 13, 2024 at

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
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