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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a superorder of flightless birds. They are characterized by a reduction of their flying apparatus: the breast keel is absent (as compared to the subclass Carinatae), the breast muscles are weakly developed, and the wing feathers are short and soft. The feathers covering the body are soft and loose, since they do not have hamules securing the barbules. Their legs are very strong, and they are good runners.

The majority of birds of the superorder Ratitae live in open spaces. Their hearing and vision are acute. They are nest builders. They usually live in pairs; in several species the male hatches the eggs and raises the young. They feed on vegetable and animal food (small vertebrates and invertebrates); the young eat animal food exclusively. Some species live in deserts and steppes, and others live in forests. There are four orders: Struthioniformes, Rheiformes, Casuariiformes (two families—Casuariidae and Dromiceiidae), and Apterygiformes.


Rukovodstov po zoologii. Compiled by G. P. Dement’ev, vol. 6.
Moscow-Leningrad, 1940. Pages 627–33.



a superorder of birds. Many contemporary taxonomists assign the Ratitae to the superorder Neornithes.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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