In some birds, such as the herons, certain down-feathers or plumulae break off into a fine dust as fast as they are formed and form tracts defined in size and situation and known as "powder-down patches."
The maxillae are not piercing organs, and their function is to protect the mandibles and labrum and separate the hairs or feathers of the host.
Its bright red beak, the bare bluish skin surrounding its large grey eyes, and the tufts of elongated feathers springing vertically from its lores, give it a pleasing and animated expression; but its plumage generally is of an inconspicuous ochreous grey above and dull white beneath, - the feathers of the upper parts, which on the neck and throat are long and loose, being barred by fine zigzag markings of dark brown, while those of the lower parts are more or less striped.
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The graceful Menura superba, or lyre-bird, with its tail feathers spread in the shape of a lyre, is a very characteristic form.
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