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Free images - Fun Facts All About Birds 

Note on large files:  Very large files may be bigger than your screen.  
Right click on any portion of the image showing and chose "save as". 

 


What is a bird?  How is it different from other animals?  In short, although sharing many characteristics with other animals, only birds have feathers!  Birds are a scientific class of vertebrates known as the "Aves".  

Let's examine some bird characteristics - 

- Feathers - All birds have feathers - in fact, birds are the only animals that do!  Feathers serve many purposes - they are used for flight, display, camouflage and temperature control.  Soft down keeps birds warm, wing feathers allow flight and tail feathers are used for steering.  Feathers are made of the same substance as human fingernails - keratin.  Feathers also provide a windproof and waterproof covering.  Feathers with dull colours such as brown, green or grey provides camoflage and help birds to hide themselves from prey.  Quite often the female of the species are a duller colour than the male.  This helps to hide the mother bird while she sits of her eggs.

Look at these green parrots that live in Puerto Rico.  Their green colouring matches the green trees in which they live.

Look at the difference in the colours of these two Mallard ducks.  The male is much more colourful than the female.  Bright colours identify the sex of each bird.  Females are attracted to colourful males.  

- Warm-blooded - Birds are warm-blooded animals.  

- Size - Birds come in various sizes. The smallest bird is the tiny Hummingbird while the largest is an Ostrich that can grow up to nine feet tall!

- Eggs - Birds lay eggs - usually in a nest - and are incubated by the parents.

- Skeleton - Most birds have hollow bones with air inside them.  This makes them lightweight for flight.

- Feet - Birds are "bipedal" which means that they have two legs.  This means that they can stand, walk and run.  Their feet are often covered with scales.

- Beaks - Birds have a hard beak or bill with no teeth.

- Species - There are more than 9,000 different species of birds.

- Habitat - Birds live on every continent of the world in cold and hot climates.

- Activity - Some birds are "diurnal" which means that is is lively during the daylight hours, while some are "nocturnal", meaning that it is active during the hours of darkness.

- Eating behaviours - Most birds are omnivorous - meaning that they eat nearly anything they can find.  Some birds are carnivorous and eat meat - flesh, insects, fish, etc.  Some live on seeds and fruit.  Some birds, like the Hummingbird, live on nectar and honey. Compared with their weight, birds eat a lot of food since they use lots of energy.

- Wings - All bird species have wings, but some are flightless that use their wings for balance and not flight.  Some birds glide and some, the hummingbird, can hover and fly backwards.    There are some species that are completely flightless - Ostrich, Cassowary, Rhea, Kiwi, Dodo (now extinct) and Penguins.  Penguins use their wings for swimming.

- Migration - Many species of bird migrate long distances every year.  Migration is the regular seasonal movement birds make moving between their breeding areas and wintering habitats.  Migration is mainly driven by the availability of food.

- Behaviour - Birds are social animals.  The have been known to work together in breeding, flocking, hunting and mobbing predators.

 

What does a bird's characteristics tell you about its behaviour?

Long legs - 

This bird probably spends a lot of its time walking in water.  They probably have a long neck to match so that they can reach their food.  Examples:  Cranes and Flamingos.

 

Short legs + long necks - These birds are typically swimmers.  They dive into the water and catch their prey under the water's surface.  Examples:  Pelicans, Geese, Swans.

 

Long slender beaks act like straws to suck nectar from flowers and pick insects from plants.  Long thin beaks help birds poke holes into wood, the ground or find nectar in flowers.
Example:  Hummingbirds, Bee Eaters, Avocets.

 

Long curved beaks act like tongs or chop-sticks and help to find prey from deep water or in muddy ground.  Example:  Ibis.

 

Thick hooked beaks like pliers grasp branches and crack open hard seeds.  Fruit eating birds often have very large beaks.  The curved beaks of parrots, for example, enable them to crack nuts and eat large seeds.  Example:  Parrots

 

Thick cone-shaped beaks can crack open small grass seeds.  Think of Finches.

 

Short Slim Beaks - Birds that peck at small seeds and eat food from the group have short beaks.  They act as small tweezers to select small seeds and berries from amongst leaves or on the ground.Think of the pigeons in the park.

 

What can you learn by examining the feet of a Mute Swan?

 

webbed feet of Mute Swan

 

Swans live near the water.  They are wonderfully adapted to their environment.  In addition to having waterproof feathers, widely spaced legs and air sacs, swans have wonderfully webbed feet.  Like other birds, swans have four toes on each of their feet, but they also have webs of skin between their toes.  When swimming, they use their feet as paddles.

 

Bird Facts 

- There are currently about 1,200 species of birds that are threatened with extinction.  Most extinction is blamed on human activity.

- The chicken is the most common species of bird found in the world!

 

Suggested link:  The Cornell Lab has a wonderful site "All About Birds".  Note:  This link will take you outside FreeTiiuPix.

 

Back to Bird Gallery

Back to Main Gallery Index

 

 

 

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If you'd like to drop me a note to let me know if any of these images have been useful, I'd love to hear from you. I'm curious to see if my snapshots have been of benefit to you in some way.  Also, I'd like to hear what kind of images you'd like to see more of. 

 

 

 

Beautiful Birds

 

 

 

 


"The reason birds can fly  and we can't 
is simply because 
they have perfect faith, 
for to have faith 
is to have wings."

~ J.M.Barrie 
- The Little White Bird ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know....

There are about 10000 species of birds in the world!

Birds have hollow bones which help them to fly!

 

 

Did you know....

Hummingbirds can fly backwards!

The smallest egg comes from a hummingbird and is the size of a pea.  The largest comes from an ostrich and is the size of a cantaloupe.

 

 

Did you know....

The penguin is the only bird that can swim, but cannot fly!

Males of most bird species are more colourful with beautiful feather shapes!

 

 

Did you know....

Mocking birds can imitate sounds!

Herons & Egrets were killed by the thousands so that their feathers cold be used to decorate women's hats!

 

 

Did you know....

Barn owls swallow their prey whole.  After digestion, they cough up the prey's bones & fur!

 

 

 

 

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