There are over 10,000 species of birds all over the world. With so many species, there are all sorts of birds with amazing features and abilities.
Various birds species have all sorts of abilities. Some can mimic music and human tone to the last note. Some sleep with their eyes open. Some sleep intentionally covered in ants.
15 Amazing Facts About Birds
This amazing species of birds inhabit almost every inch of the whole planet. Although some of them might be very common to you as they’re your average, local birds.
- Raven’s Art Of Mimicking
It is very unlikely that ravens that live in the forest will pick up any human language. This is because it is just mostly other wild animals in the forest so they have very rare contact with any human. However, they tend to become quite chatty once held in captivity. You will be surprised to know that some ravens can mimic human speech much better than parrots.
Not only this but these birds can also mimic any sounds they hear near them, starting from car engines to the sound of a toilet flushing. On the other hand, ravens who dwell in the forest also know the art of mimicking. They imitate other wild animals such as foxes or wolves. They do this to attract the predators to tasty meals that they would otherwise be unable to find by themselves.
- Ostriches Have The Biggest Eyes Than Any Other Animal
Their eyes are almost the size of an 8-ball pool ball and quite interestingly, even their brains are smaller than their eyes!
However, big eyes don’t mean great power. Even though they have large eyes, they still cannot compete with some of the enormous creatures that dwell under the sea.
- Cardinals Cover Themselves With Ants
Cardinals as well as some other species of birds like to cover their bodies in crumbled, dead ants or sometimes even living ones. They smudge the ants on top of their feathers by themselves or let the ants creep onto their bodies.
Scientists have tried to find out the motive behind “anting”. Some scientists believe that the formic acid secretion in the time of their ant shower helps them to eliminate lice and similar other parasites which is why they let the ants crawl all over them. However, the real reason is still unknown.
- Owls Gobble Their Whole Prey
Usually, when owls capture their prey, they tear it up into smaller, more convenient pieces. They do this so that it is easier to bite down the pieces. It is generally the case for larger animals such as rabbits and raccoons. On the other hand, owls devour their whole prey as well.
Owls don’t go to all the trouble of breaking their small prey into smaller pieces. They simply swallow the whole animal, especially mice and insects. They then bring up pellets filled with elements that are not digestible from their meal, such as bones or fur.
- Ducks Nap With An Open Eye
When the ducks sleep together in groups, the ones on the boundary keep an eye for any danger by napping with an open eye. The ones on the inside are in a much deeper sleep than the ones out front.
The ducks sleeping on the perimeter keep one part of their brain attentive as well. This is because predators usually attack when their prey is at their weakest. If they keep a part of their brain active they’ll be aware even when they’re sleeping and the predators might think they’re not asleep at all. This will prevent the predators from sneaking upon them.
- Kiwis, Also Known As “Honorary Animals”
Kiwis are an outstanding species of land-bound birds. They dwell in New Zealand and according to research by some scientists, have very strange properties.
These birds have feathers that appear like human hair and their bones are full with marrow. Their nostrils are on the edge of their nose instead of the base, as is the case with most birds. Their characteristics are very unique and have close similarities to that of humans. It is due to the unique features that they have been given the name of “honorary mammals” by some scientists.
- The Insignificant Weight Of Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds are significantly lightweight, so much so that their weight is fewer than that of a nickel! The typical hummingbird weighs about 4 grams which is a gram less of a dime. Whereas, the smallest hummingbird, known as the bee hummingbird, is close to 1.6 grams. That is less than the density of a penny.
There is also a large hummingbird which is said to be the largest in the family. Its name is the giant hummingbird and weighs about 24 grams. This is a considerable amount of weight for a hummingbird. However, when compared to coins, it will only be corresponding to a handful of loose changes still.
- Pigeons Delivered Results Of Olympic Games In Ancient Times
Pigeons are said to be the primary of the tamed birds on this planet. These birds were to convey messages as well as some very vital military reports for a thousand years. They also used to deliver the results of the early Olympic Games.
However, other forms of mails other than the avian way have become much more popular recently as it’s faster and less troublesome. Even still, pigeons came in handy in World War II to bear relevant and vital information.
- Parrots Can Say Many Words
As you may already know, parrots can speak the human language if taught perfectly. While most of them can learn and speak about only 50 words, many of them can speak about a hundred!
Yes. Some African grey parrots can even learn and say about a hundred words. A talented parrot of the same species dwelling in the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee can speak about 200 words. It also has a name as brilliant as Einstein.
- Swiftlet Nests Are A Treat
Some swiftlets build their nests particularly out of their own dried-out saliva. Their appropriate name is Edible-nest swiftlets as some people make a dish out of it.
In China, these birds’ nests are considered a treat as the people there use them quite often to make birds’ nests soup. It is one of the most lavish dishes around the world but has little to no flavor at all. The dish also doesn’t contain any real nutritional values.
- Bassian Thrushes Search For Food By Farting
Bassian Thrushes eat worms as their food and detect their prey by farting. Worms usually hide under a pile of leaves so these birds direct their farts in that direction to know where they are.
This excretion of gas shuffles the pile of leaves on the ground. This disruption of their peaceful environment forces the worms to move away from their hideout. Once their location is revealed, the birds easily hunt down their food.
- Woodpeckers Stash Acorns
Woodpeckers that feed on acorns store them by digging dents in trees. Not only this but they even punch holes in fences and utility posts as well as some buildings.
They usually store these acorns in trees. These birds collect and stock up to 50,000 acorns, stashing each of them in tiny holes in one single tree. That tree is called a “granary tree”.
- Penguins’ Body Color Works As A Camouflage
The exclusive coloring of the penguins’ bodies might make them prominent on land but it is totally a different case under the water. It helps them remain concealed from their predators as well as prey. This is because they have black backs so when they swim, it fuses in with the dark ocean water under them. It makes them harder to spot.
Whereas, the white color on their chests helps them fuse in with the lighter and upper surfaces of the water. So, when predators or preys see them from down below, they’re very hard to spot or are almost invisible. It is, however, totally the opposite scenario on land as their black colored backs are what makes them stand out. Although it is not quite necessary to camouflage on land as they encounter much lesser predators out there.
- Hoatzin Chicks Born With Claws On Wings
Young hoatzins are born with two claws on both of their wings. This helps them climb across the branches of trees as well as drag their bodies out of the water onto the land. Although the claws vanish after three months, it also helps them shelter themselves from predators.
When they jump into the water from their nest, they enjoy for some moment and swim a little distance. After they’re over with their little amusement period, they use these claws to mount up onto the perches of a tree. This is after they make sure the coast is clear and free of predators. Hoatzins are also known as “stink birds” as their bodies have a very uncommon stench.
- Budgies Capture Each Other’s Yawns
Budgies, who are also known as budgerigars, are very familiar parakeets. According to research so far, they are the only species of birds that are receptive to contagious yawning. Even though humans as well as many other animals such as dogs and lab rats also catch each other’s yawns, the first of the non-mammal species observed to do so are budgies.
Corresponding to the belief of many scientists, this behavior may just be an unconscious and instinctive response to the other birds. This could be a way of displaying their compassion for them or simply just a signal of group vigilance for when predators are nearby.
I’m sure some of these bird facts got you saying “Wow!” The avian kingdom is truly diverse, confusing, and full of wonders. But that’s what makes bird watching so invigorating. Seeing all sorts of unique birds with their special characteristics is quite fascinating.
Facts about Birds That Sound Fake But Actually Are Not
Oftentimes you may have heard about some rather interesting facts about birds. Some of the most bizarre facts that you hear about birds are not a hoax but in fact, completely true. Below is the list of some of these bizarre facts.
- Chickens And Ostriches; Close Relatives To Tyrannosaurus Rex
As per research by scientists, there is a discovery of an association between modern birds and dinosaurs. According to a well-known magazine, research in 2008 found some atomic evidence of this theory which proves that birds did evolve from dinosaurs.
Thus, it has been discovered that the closest relationship the dinosaurs and these modern birds have is with ostriches and chickens. Scientists have found the most similarities with dinosaurs with them than any other birds.
- Pigeons Have The Ability To Recognize Human Faces
Yes. Like dogs and cats, pigeons can learn to recognize human faces. If you have a pet pigeon for a while now, you will notice that they will find their way back home even if you let them loose.
Nowadays, they can even use touch screens on their own! Scientists researched and even discovered that they can also recognize words and learn them. They can remember around 50 words and even tell words from non-words. How outstanding is that!
- Ospreys Bear Their Prey In A Specific Way
Ospreys love to hunt and catch fresh fish for their meal although they don’t eat it right on spot. They prefer to carry it all the way back to their home or at least somewhere closer to it before they begin eating it. Their robust talons and the pads on their feet help them to carry their prey around in the air.
Although picking up a fish that is still alive and slippery and is squirming around in your feet is a difficult job. This can even make flying hard for the birds. They place their fish in such a way so that they’re more aerodynamic. These birds hold the fish in a way so that it is parallel to their body, keeping their head forward. They do all this so that gravity doesn’t pull them down, slowing their rate of flight.
- Parasitic Jaegers Steal Food From Others’ Mouths
Among the bird species, parasitic jaegers are known as thieves. When other birds are catching their food, they spot it from a distance. They then hunt them down and pester them to the point where those birds have no other option than to drop down their food.
The jaegers then eat the food, without any hassle of catching it themselves. Thus, it is safe to say that these birds have fully lived up to their name with the nature that they possess.
- Hummingbirds Have Fast Metabolism
There are over 330 species of hummingbirds existing in America. According to surveys, it has been found that hummingbirds have an intensive metabolism due to which they are very small looking and have very little weight.
If you had the metabolism of a hummingbird, you’d need to consume roughly 285 pounds of meat every day to stay in shape. Then again, your lifespan will come down to a maximum of five years.
- Bearded Vultures Dye Their Plumage On Purpose
Vultures mainly depend on bones for their nutrition. You might think they feed on the meat of other dead animals but in reality, their meal consists of 70% to 90% of bones. They break down the larger bones into smaller and convenient pieces by dropping from a height at which it easily shatters when it hits the ground. They then feed on the marrow and the small fragments of bones.
Unlike any other bird, vultures are the only rare species of birds that have a diet like this. These birds also possess another unique feature such as dying their own feathers. The vultures who have beards dye their plumage with red soil. It is believed that they do so to prove their supremacy to other birds around. Similarly, this is also not common in any other birds.
- California Condors Have Huge Wingspans
The California Condors have a wingspan of about 9.5 feet, which when seen from a great distance, can be mistaken for a small aircraft. This species of birds, however, was on the edge of extinction.
The number of Condors came down to only 22 birds in 1987, such was the rate of extinction. They were then apprehended and put in captive breeding programs. Now, there are over 400 species of these birds that exist. Half of them have even been freed from the programs and allowed to fly free.
Alongside these facts, there are also some birds that look fake but are real. You may have seen them in movies or cartoons and wondered if they actually exist in reality. Truth is, some of these birds do and quite amazingly, they are even more surreal and intriguing in real life than as they show them in the movies.
Some More Fascinating Facts About Birds
Well, we’ve gone through some weird and wacky bird facts up until now. But, now let’s take it down a little and talk about some more less-weird yet still fascinating facts. You might know some of these but I’m sure the others will intrigue you.
- By now you know that birds evolved from dinosaurs but quite interestingly, chickens are the closest existing relative to the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
- The smallest egg of a bird that you will find belongs to the hummingbird. It is only the volume of a pea! On the other hand, the largest bird egg is the volume of a cantaloupe. Fairly, these eggs belong to ostriches.
- As birds are vertebrate creatures, they are also linked to all other vertebrate species that today or have previously lived on the planet. However, you might be shocked to find that other than dinosaurs, modern birds are most closely linked to crocodiles as well. a specific extinction event erased dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and other marine reptiles.
However, crocodiles still managed to somehow survive and are still existing in large numbers all around the world to this date. Although, they will still eat any close relatives for survival, even if those relatives are birds.
- If you compare the eyes of humans to those of birds, you will know that their eyes consume about 50 percent of their heads while ours just consume only about 5 percent.
- The Penguin is the sole bird that can swim.
- Owls can spin their heads almost in a full circle but rather strangely, they cannot maneuver their eyes.
- When it comes to birds, males have more alluring feather shapes, colors, melodies, and dances than females. This is because they do all the work of attracting female birds and then the females choose their mate based on how enticing they find them.
- Reptiles used to lay eggs many years before chickens appeared. The first chicken was born from an egg deposited by a non-chicken bird. As a result, the egg was the first to hatch.
- Kiwis hunt by smelling the scent of their prey as they are blind.
- Many birds consume double their body weight in food. In reality, a bird, compared to its density, requires more food than a newborn.
- You can distinguish between chickens that lay brown eggs and those that lay colored eggs by the color of their earlobes. The ones that lay brown eggs have crimson-colored earlobes.
- When you observe the body size of a crow, you will notice that they have the largest cerebral hemispheres of any bird family. No wonder they are also one of the smartest.
- Mockingbirds can also mimic a variety of noises just like parrots and pigeons. I guess they live up to their name pretty well.
Why Are Birds So Diverse?
Species variety has a link to latitude since before the dinosaurs. The refuge hypothesis is the most commonly recognized explanation for the enormous latitudinal diversity differential in bird species. According to this theory, climate and habitat changes caused by glacial cycles were a result of the bird populations becoming isolated into small refugia.
This population fragmentation resulted in the generation of an increase in convergent evolution rates during that time period. This rate still continues to this day. According to this theory, this fast diversification is what led to today’s high bird diversity.
However, terrestrial birds have more genetic variety than aquatic species. The BM of aquatic birds was considerably higher than that of terrestrial species. In light of previously published data from other vertebrates, recent findings imply that patterns of genetic variation in birds are influenced by their evolutionary effective population and the pace of molecular evolution.
Another reason for this latitudinal diversification of birds is the hypothesis based on climatic stability. This theory suggests that the tropics’ steady climate allowed birds to concentrate on predictable supplies, allowing them to fill tighter niches and facilitating speciation. Thus, as you can tell, this wide diversification is due to its evolution from the vast range of dinosaurs.
Different birds have various facts about them and they are all unique in their own way. While some are rare with claws on their wings, some are simply rare with their ability to store a large number of nuts.