BIRDS

Feathers, Eggs, & Beaks!

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The earliest birds appeared approximately 150 million years ago, with true birds showing up about 100 million years ago. They didn’t just live alongside dinosaurs, the current scientific consensus is that they are dinosaurs (though they are warm-blooded and have four-chambered hearts like mammals). All birds lay eggs, have toothless beaks and feathers (though not all birds can fly). From the tiny hummingbird to the powerful ostrich, the stout penguin and the swooping swallow-tailed kite, birds come in a remarkable diversity of shapes and sizes – indeed, they are the most common living tetrapod (four-limbed vertebrate) on Earth today!


Featured Birds

Barbary Dove
(Streptopelia risoria)

This species of dove is the most commonly kept dove in captivity, owing to their ease of care, hardiness, and pleasant…
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Bee hummingbirds
(Mellisuga helenae)

Bee hummingbirds (Mellisuga helenae), native to Cuba, weigh about as much as a dime and are about 2.5” long, eat their…
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Burrowing Owl
(Athene cunicularia)

As their name implies, these owls live in burrows and are willing to either dig their own or inhabit those made by prairie…
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Common Hill Myna
(Gracula religiosa)

The superior vocal abilities of these starling relatives make them popular as pets - they are able to reproduce everyday…
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Diamond Dove
(Geopelia cuneata)

These diminutive doves are native to Australia and also popular as pets the all over the world. They prefer an arid or…
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Domestic Canary
(Serinus canaria domestica)

These iconic pet songbirds are descended from a type of wild finch endemic to the Azores, Madeira, and Canary Islands.…
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Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel
(Oceanodroma furcate)

The Fork-tailed storm-petrel is a widespread and abundant pelagic species. They are the only pure grey member of their…
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Great Blue Heron
(Ardea Herodias)

These large, majestic wading birds are a common sight along coastlines, rivers, and other bodies of water that provide…
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Harris’s hawk
(Parabuteo unicinctus)

These hawks generally inhabit arid regions ranging from the southwestern United States south to Chile and Argentina. They…
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Java Sparrow
(Lonchura oryzivora)

The rakish Java sparrow (or Java finch) is endemic to Java, Bali and Bawean in Indonesia. There numbers have fallen in…
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Laysan Albatross
(Phoebastria immutabilis)

These masters of graceful flight can soar hundreds of miles a day, barely flapping their wings as they scan the ocean…
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Magnificent Frigatebird
(Fregata magnificens)

The Magnificent Frigatebird is the largest species of frigatebird and is common in the tropical and sub-tropical waters…
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Mallard
(Anas platyrhynchos)

One of North America and Eurasia’s most iconic ducks, the stately mallard is common in ponds and lakes, as well as wetlands…
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Monk Parakeet
(Myiopsitta monachus)

Also commonly known as the Quaker Parakeet, these small parrots originated in South America but exist in self-sustaining…
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Pacific loon
(Gavia pacifica)

The Pacific Loon is a common site along the Pacific coast, as well as large lakes throughout its expansive range. Every…
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Pelican
(Pelecanus)

Pelicans are large water birds, instantly recognizable by their large beaks and throat pouches that they use to scoop…
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Rainbow lorikeet
(Trichoglossus moluccanus)

This eye-catching little parrot is native to the Australian continent but has been introduced in other locales that include…
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Resplendent Quetzal
(Pharomachrus mocinno)

These small, colorful birds, with their iridescent green and red plumage are not only admired for their beauty, but are…
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Rock Dove
(Columba livia)

Familiar to most people as the common pigeon, these highly adaptive birds have spread from their original ranges in Europe,…
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Rosy-faced Lovebird
(Agapornis roseicollis)

These social little parrots are native to arid regions in southwestern Africa. They are a popular pet due to their size…
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Scaled Quail
(Callipepla squamata)

This ground-dwelling bird inhabits the southwestern grasslands of the United States. They are highly social and live in…
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Society finch
(Lonchura striata domestica)

Also known as Bengalese finches, these domesticated cage birds are generally considered to be a domestic form of the striated…
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Toucan
(Ramphastidae)

Toucans are a familiar bird to many people because of their colorful, generously proportioned bills. There are about 40…
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Trumpeter Swan
(Cygnus buccinator)

This swan holds the distinction of being North America’s largest waterfowl. They typically weigh 15-30 pounds and their…
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Western Grebe
(Aechmophorus occidentalis)

These accomplished divers eat mainly fish, which they capture either by spearing or with a forceps-like maneuver of their…
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Wild Turkey
(Meleagris gallopavo)

Witnessing a flock of wild turkeys materialize from the dense forest understory is one of life’s more stirring events…
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Wood Stork
(Mycteria Americana)

The Wood Stork is the only stork species that breeds in the United States. They inhabit the swamps of the southeastern…
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Zebra Finch
(Taeniopygia guttata)

These handsome little birds are native to Australia, East Timor, and Indonesia. They can be found in many different types…
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Interesting Facts

Calling someone a “bird brain” is an insult, but perhaps it should be reconsidered given how many birds display high intelligence and adaptability. For example, the kea from New Zealand can solve logical puzzles and work with other birds in order to acquire food, observations of Cormorants used by Chinese fishermen indicate that the birds can count up to seven, and many species of birds use simple tools such as sticks to help them acquire food or other items that catch their fancy! There is also a cockatoo named Snowball who can dance to the beat of Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself,” though whether this indicates intelligence or not is a matter of debate (or personal taste).

 


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