gizzard and alimentary canal of birds



gizzard and alimentary canal of birds defined in 1930 year

gizzard and alimentary canal of birds - Gizzard and Alimentary Canal of birds;
gizzard and alimentary canal of birds - The gizzard (fig) of the fowl is simply a part of the stomach which has especially hard and muscular walls, the other half remaining soft in texture; this latter is termed the proventriculus, and into it open the mouths of glands which secrete the digestive juice of the stomach. But the muscular part of the stomach - the gizzard - has to grind down the frequently hard food of the bird, so it has not merely a strong wall made of muscle, but also a very tough lining; the whole organ, therefore, forms a highly efficient mechanism for crushing and grinding the seeds and other hard vegetable food which is swallowed. It is rendered more useful still for this purpose by the pebbles which every bird takes care to swallow. The true and singular stories about the varied contents of an Ostrich's stomach are founded upon the fact that, like other birds, it picks up stones, and with them occasionally other objects. But all birds do not possess a hard gizzard; in Hawks and fish-eatingbirds the walls are thinner, and the organ is flaccid instead of being rigid. By a very curious and unique exception certain Tanagers, a race of large, often bright- coloured, American, finch-like birds, have nothing at all that can be compared to the gizzard of other birds this part of the alimentary canal is totally wanting. Now the difference between the gizzard ol the grain-eating fowl and the flesh-eating hawk is chiefly a matter of diet. The celebrated anatomist, John Hunter, who lived in the last century, and wrote so much about the anatomy of all kinds of animals, including birds, found that he could feed a soft-stomached bird into one with a hard gizzard, and vice versa.

We can pass briefly over the rest of the alimentary system, which does not vary a great deal in different birds. The intestines are always rather short, and are diversely coiled, the method of coiling being often characteristic of a particular group. A good way down the intestine are a pair of caeca, which may be entirely absent, as in the Hornbills, for example; and if present may be extremely short, as in the Sparrow, or very long, as in the Ostrich; various intermediate degrees exist. As in all vertebrated animals, two glands pour their secretion into the intestine; these are the pancreas and the liver. The secretion of the liver is the bile; this fluid is accumulated as it is formed in a largish bag - the gall-bladder, in those birds which possess one. Shakespeare used the epithet pigeon-livered,' which meant literally the absence of a gall-bladder; but, oddly enough, there are some kinds of pigeons which have a gallbladder, while others, like the common pigeon, have not. The intestine ends in the cloaca, which is the common chamber into which the urinary and generative organs also open.

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