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The mesites (Mesitornithidae) are a family of birds of uncertain affinities. They are smallish, near flightless birds endemic to Madagascar. Generally brownish with paler undersides, they are of somewhat pheasant-like appearance and were initially placed with the Galliformes. Most commonly, they are placed in the Gruiformes (cranes, rails and allies), but this has been disputed in more recent times. They are the only family with more than two species in which every species is threatened; all three are listed as vulnerable and are expected to decline greatly in the next 20 years.


The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia (New York, NY: The Century Co., 1889)


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