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The Birds Portal

Pardalotus with nesting material.jpg
A Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus) collecting nesting material in its beak.
Welcome to the Birds Portal! Birds (class Aves) are bipedal, warm-blooded, oviparous vertebrate animals. Most scientists believe that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs. Ranging in size from tiny hummingbirds to the huge Ostrich and Emu, there are between 9,000 and 10,000 known living bird species in the world, making Aves the most diverse class of terrestrial vertebrate.

A bird is characterized by feathers, a toothless beak, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a light but strong skeleton. All birds have forelimbs modified as wings and most can fly.

Birds are important sources of food, acquired either through farming or hunting. Numerous species of birds are also used commercially, and some species, particularly songbirds and parrots, are popular pets. Birds figure prominently in all aspects of human culture from religion to poetry and popular music. Numerous species of birds are threatened with extinction by human activities and as a result efforts are underway to protect them.

Selected article

The Sooty Tern is highly aerial and marine and will spend years flying at sea without returning to land.
Seabirds are birds that have adapted to life within the marine environment. While seabirds vary greatly in lifestyle, behaviour and physiology, they often exhibit striking convergent evolution, as the same environmental problems and feeding niches have resulted in similar adaptations. The first seabirds evolved in the Cretaceous period, and modern seabird families emerged in the Paleogene.

In general, seabirds live longer, breed later and have fewer young than other birds do, but they invest a great deal of time in their young. Most species nest in colonies, which can vary in size from a few dozen birds to millions. Many species are famous for undertaking long annual migrations, crossing the equator or circumnavigating the Earth in some cases. They feed both at the ocean's surface and below it, and even feed on each other. Seabirds can be highly pelagic, coastal, or in some cases spend a part of the year away from the sea entirely.

Seabirds and humans have a long history together: they have provided food to hunters, guided fishermen to fishing stocks and led sailors to land. Many species are currently threatened by human activities, and conservation efforts are under way.

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A single white feather closeup.
Credit: Joao Estevao Andrade de Freitas

Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds. They are the outstanding characteristic that distinguishes the Class Aves from all other living groups.



Anatomy: Anatomy - Skeleton - Flight - Eggs - Feathers - Plumage

Evolution and extinction: Evolution - Archaeopteryx - Hybridisation - Late Quaternary prehistoric birds - Fossils - Taxonomy - Extinction

Behaviour: Singing - Intelligence - Migration - Reproduction - Nesting - Incubation - Brood parasites

Bird Orders: Struthioniformes - Tinamiformes - Anseriformes - Galliformes - Gaviiformes - Podicipediformes - Procellariiformes - Sphenisciformes - Pelecaniformes - Ciconiiformes - Phoenicopteriformes - Falconiformes - Gruiformes - Charadriiformes - Pteroclidiformes - Columbiformes - Psittaciformes - Cuculiformes - Strigiformes - Caprimulgiformes - Apodiformes - Coraciiformes - Piciformes - Trogoniformes - Coliiformes - Passeriformes

Bird lists: Families and orders - Lists by region

Birds and Humans: Ringing - Ornithology - Bird collections - Birdwatching - Birdfeeding - Conservation - Aviculture


The crow wished everything was black, the owl, that every thing was white.

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Free online resources:

  • SORA: The Searchable Online Research Archive (SORA) has decades worth of archives of the following journals: The Auk, Condor, Journal of Field Ornithology, North American Bird Bander, Studies in Avian Biology, Pacific Coast Avifauna, and the Wilson Bulletin. Coverage ends around 2000. The ability to search all journals or browse exists on the front page.
  • Notornis: The Journal of the Ornithological Society of New Zealand covers New Zealand and the South Pacific.
  • New Zealand Journal of Ecology: This journal often publishes bird-related articles. Like Notornis, this journal is concerned with New Zealand and surrounding areas.
  • Marine Ornithology: Published by the numerous Seabird Research Groups, Marine Ornithology is specific and goes back many years.
  • BirdLife International: The Data Zone has species accounts for every species, although threatened species and some key groups have greater detail with others only having status and evaluation.
  • Authors Names: This is a good source for binomial authorities for taxoboxes.

There is also Birds of North America, Cornell University's massive project collecting information on every breeding bird in the ABA area. It is available for 40 USD a year.

For more sources, including printed sources, see WikiProject Birds.

Selected species

Emu in profile
The Emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae, is the largest bird native to Australia and the only extant member of the genus Dromaius. It is also the second-largest extant bird in the world by height. The soft-feathered, brown, flightless birds reach up to 2 m (6 ft) in height. The Emu is common over most of mainland Australia, although it avoids heavily populated areas, dense forest and arid areas. Emus can travel great distances at a fast, economical trot and can sprint at 50 km/h (30 mph) for some distance at a time. They are opportunistically nomadic and may travel long distances to find food; they feed on a variety of plants and insects. The Emu subspecies that inhabited Tasmania became extinct following the European settlement of Australia in 1788. The distribution of the mainland subspecies has also been affected by human activities. Once common on the east coast, the Emu is now uncommon, while development of agriculture and provision of water for stock in the interior of the continent have increased the range of the Emu in arid regions. Emus are farmed for their meat, oil and leather.

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Related portals

Collaboration of the month

Eagle 01.svg The current Bird Collaboration of the Month is Tinamou.

Every month a different bird-related topic, article, stub or non-existent article is picked. Please improve the article any way you can.

Things you can do

Create requested articles (WikiProject Birds – Article requests):

Do these tasks: The current project collaboration is Tinamou

Here are some tasks you can do:

More outstanding tasks at the cleanup listing on Toolserver, Category:Birds articles needing attention, and Wikipedia:WikiProject Birds#Tasklist.

Taxonomy of Aves

Associated Wikimedia

Birds on Wikibooks  Birds on Wikimedia Commons Birds on Wikinews  Birds on Wikiquote  Birds on Wikisource  Birds on Wikiversity  Birds on Wikivoyage  Birds on Wiktionary  Birds on Wikidata 
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