BIRDS of this genus generally prefer high northern latitudes, or the more lofty mountainous situations in the central parts of Europe; their food consisting almost entirely of leaves and berries. The larger species are said to be polygamous, the male retiring after the females have been fecundated, and living apart until the return of the breeding season: he has likewise greatly the advantage in point of size and beauty of plumage. The smaller families observe the common law of pairing, and of performing together the work of incubation, with great assiduity and affection. In these the difference of sex is very little conspicuous. Some of the species moult once, others twice a year.
The birds of this kind are principally characterized by their strong curved beak, the massive bulkiness of their bodies, and their plumed legs and toes.
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