Africa, as a piece of Gondwana long glued onto Laurasia, has a quite interesting diveristy of birds. The ethiopian continent possess the normal assembledge of raptors, parrots, and wading birds, but is also home to a number of African-derived bird clades, most notably Allospiziformes (see below).
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There is some evidence to suggest picifoms have invaded Africa, though not to the same extent as Home-Earth.
New studies revealed the existence of some piciform species in Africa, mainly due to call and sight reports. Probably both south American and African species share a common ancestor or they can just be two different groups that experienced convergent evolution. These birds were recently named "Afrogemmidae" as a male specimen of a new undescribed species has been collected. Further studies, mainly DNA hybridisation processes may prove that this African group is related to the fairy-barbets of South America.
Otherworld finches, cityfinches, crackers, & outlaws are the dominant small-bodied seedeating birds of Specworld, with over 2,300 species worldwide in 19 families. Their anatomy shows similarities to both the psittaciformes and the cuculiformes (as well as several unique features) and may form a link between these two avian clades.
Otherworld finches and their kin can be found on every continent (1 species makes an incredible annual migration from South America to South Georgia, Antarctica) and most oceanic islands. The majority of species feed on seeds, nuts and fruits.
Allospiziforms are tiny to medium-sized neognathous birds with zygodactylus feet. The beak is usually stout and triangular and, as in parrots, has a moveable rostrum with a hinge-like articulation. Unlike parrots, they possess a well-developed caecum and a small cartialaginous tongue as well as having fewer cervical vertebrae (12-13).
Allospizids, the Specworld finches, are small, dumpy birds and usually posses a robust parrot-like bill for cracking seeds. The 200 or so species in this family can be found throughout Africa and the entire Northern Hemisphere south of the Arctic. They build intricate, cup-like nests and have a melodious, chirruping song.
- Flying humbug
The parrothawks are heavily built allospizians with large, hooked beaks. Their name is a bit of a misnomer as these birds a generalist omnivores rather than dedicated predators, which feed on fruit, nuts, eggs and small animals. This African family contains about a dozen species, mostly restricted to tropical rainforests.
- Ancient parrothawk
Probably the most remarkable allospizians are the cityfinches---small, highly gregarious birds that feed mainly on grass seeds. The family contains about 50 species and are restricted to Africa, Madagascar and parts of Asia Minor. Most species dwell in permanent colonies or cities. Many forms exhibit extreme sexual dimorphism, the result of the different sexes performing differing functions in cityfinch society:
Mature males ("scouts") usually act as and airborne early-warning sentries and food gatherers so tend to have longer wing feathers for flying long distances and a large crop for storing seeds. Parties of scouts will often travel for days on foraging missions.
Mature females ("warbirds") are the colony's defence force and are larger and more robustly built than the males. They can be extremely fanatical in the defence of their homes, even sauropods are not immune. The females of some species grow bizarre hornlike structures from their beaks which act as weapons or display structures.
Warbirds will usually see off scouts of other colonies before they venture too close to their home city. However, during spring the warbirds will sometimes aggressively seek to copulate with the intruders, perhaps to maintain genetic diversity in the colony. At the other extreme, during bad seasons, cityfinches often raid from neighbouring colonies. Small cities which fail to defend their resources often starve and collapse.
Gravid warbirds deposit a single egg into a communal nestchamber. The eggs are tended to by serfs and "off-duty" warbirds who bring food from storage chambers replenished by the scouts.
Non-breeding birds ("serfs") do not exhibit any of the mature adult specialisations and perform domestic chores including egg-rearing, cleaning and structural maintenance. The workers and young scouts of very large cities may also act as "air conditioners", beating their wings at the entrance of special "ventilation tunnels" to maintain air circulation in the deepers parts of the colony.
The colony generally maintains roughly equal proportions of the three adult castes. Adolescent birds grow into the serf state with their first moult. Whilst the mechanism remains poorly understood, the frequent scoldings and pecks that the other castes inflict on the serfbirds keeps them in this undifferentiated, non-reproductive state and prevents their metamorphosis into scouts or warbirds. When the "bullying" falls below a certain level due to the reduction the number of mature adults, this inhibitor is removed and the strongest, most aggressive serfs change into mature castemembers.
Additionally, when the number of serfs reaches about one half of the total adult population, some of them are driven out to found a new colony, usually joining with exiled serfs from other cities.