PasserineA member of the very large order Passeriformes, usually called 'perching birds' (literally 'sparrow-like' birds). Over half the world's birds are passerines and the order Passeriformes is divided into four sub-orders, of which the only one represented in the British Isles is the sub-order oscines. Those birds which are not placed in the order Passeriformes are called 'non-passerines', while those non-passerines which are most closely related to the passerines are called 'near passerines', examples of the latter being the swifts (family Apodidae) and the woodpeckers (family Picidae).
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From Peter Weaver's Birdwatcher's Dictionary
Copyright © 1981 by Peter Weaver