What Kind of Bird is Big Bird?

Zoologist Mike Dickison of Duke University specializes in flightless bird. Naturally, he applied his expertise in describing a giant flightless bird we are all familiar with, namely Big Bird - in all its scientific details:

Years ago, when I was in the early stages of my PhD, I gave a joke presentation at a graduate student conference on the taxonomy and evolution of Big Bird. It was the sort of thing you’d see at any conference on avian evolution: a Latin name, reconstructed skeleton, possible place on the great evolutionary tree of birds. The tone was completely serious, despite the subject matter—the sort of thing that might be found in the Journal of Irreproducible Results back when it was funny.

Then, in the storage cabinets of the Berlin Museum of Natural History one summer’s day, I had a revelation—an original scientific insight that I am happy now to share with the world. I realised what kind of bird Big Bird almost certainly is, and figured out something of its evolutionary history.

Link - via Boing Boing

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From the MuppetWiki article on Big Bird: “In the Sesame Street Live production Everyone Makes Music, after Big Bird sings Rockin’ Robin, Baby Bear remarks that Big Bird is one rockin’ robin, and Big Bird remarks, “Actually I’m a canary.”"
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Big Bird said he was a California Condor, if I recall correctly. (Doesn't make sense, given the yellow.)

But he also said he was a lark (on Hollywood Squares.)

Now, what species is his friend, Snuffalufagus?
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