Where do we begin with our fun facts about birds? There are so many fascinating characteristics, but let’s start with how Birds are defined. Birds are a group of endothermic (warm-blooded) vertebrates, characterized by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a lightweight but strong skeleton. The lightweight but strong skeleton is especially important for flight.
Birds live worldwide and range in size from the 5 cm (2 in) Bee Hummingbird to the 2.75 m (9 ft) Ostrich.
Where did birds come from?
The fossil record indicates that birds are the last surviving group of dinosaurs, having evolved from feathered ancestors within the Theropod Group of Saurischian Dinosaurs. True birds first appeared during the Cretaceous period, around 100 million years ago. Below is the fossil of what is to be believed is the oldest bird, the Archaeopteryx.
And here is an artist’s rendering of what it was believed to look like.
Let’s fast-forward now to present time and look at some of today’s birds.
The World’s Smallest Bird
With a mass around 1.6–2 g (that is less than the weight of a dime!) and a length of 5–6 cm (2.0–2.4 in), it is the smallest living bird. The male is smaller than the female. Compared to other small hummingbirds, which often have a slender appearance, the bee hummingbird looks rounded and chunky. The Bee Hummingbird lives primarily on the island of Cuba.
Bee Hummingbird nest and eggs.
The World’s Largest Bird
The world’s largest bird is the Ostrich, it is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs, and can run at up to about 70 km/h (43 mph), the fastest land speed of any bird. The ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest eggs of any living bird.
The Ostrich is actually so big that people can ride them, and fast enough that people have races on them, can you believe that?!
Migrations Patterns and Finding Their Way Home
Bird migration is the regular seasonal movement, often north and south along a flyway, between breeding and wintering grounds. Many species of bird migrate. The primary motivation for migration appears to be food; for example, some hummingbirds choose not to migrate if fed through the winter. Also, the longer days of the northern summer provide extended time for breeding birds to feed their young. As the days shorten in autumn, the birds return to warmer regions where the available food supply varies little with the season. Therefore, many factors contribute to the birds decision, or instinct, to make these epic journeys.
One of the more incredible things to witness is a flock of birds in Murmuration. Scientist do not have a clear explanation of exactly what a murmuration is, or why Starlings specifically perform this mesmerizing dance. As they fly, the starlings in a murmuration seem to be connected together. They twist and turn and change direction at a moment’s notice. How do hundreds or even thousands of birds coordinate such complicated movement while in flight?
Check out the video below of a Green Starling Murmuration from the YouTube page wildaboutimages.
Fun facts about birds 2017