Welcome to the Birds Portal! Birds
) are bipedal
, oviparous vertebrate animals
. Most scientists believe that birds evolved
from theropod dinosaurs
. Ranging in size from tiny hummingbirds
to the huge Ostrich
, 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.
, of the biological family Diomedeidae
, are large seabirds
allied to the procellariids
in the order Procellariiformes
(the tubenoses). They range widely in the Southern Ocean
and the North Pacific
. They are absent from the North Atlantic
, although fossil
remains show they once occurred there too and occasional vagrants turn up. Albatrosses are amongst the largest of flying
birds, and the great albatrosses
) have the largest wingspans of any extant
birds. The albatrosses are usually regarded as falling into four genera, but there is disagreement over the number of species
Albatrosses are highly efficient in the air, using dynamic soaring and slope soaring to cover great distances with little exertion. They feed on squid, fish and krill by either scavenging, surface seizing or diving. Albatrosses are colonial, nesting for the most part on remote oceanic islands, often with several species nesting together. Pair bonds between males and females form over several years, with the use of ritualised dances, and will last for the life of the pair. A breeding season can take over a year from laying to fledging, with a single egg laid in each breeding attempt.
Of the 21 species of albatrosses recognised by the IUCN, 19 are threatened with extinction. Numbers of albatrosses have declined in the past due to harvesting for feathers, but today the albatrosses are threatened by introduced species such as rats and feral cats that attack eggs, chicks and nesting adults; by pollution; by a serious decline in fish stocks in many regions largely due to overfishing; and by long-line fishing. Long-line fisheries pose the greatest threat, as feeding birds are attracted to the bait and become hooked on the lines and drown. Governments, conservation organisations and fishermen are all working towards reducing this by-catch.
||When thou seest an eagle, thou seest a portion of genius; lift up thy head!
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.
The Superb Fairy-wren
), also known as Superb Blue-wren
or colloquially as Blue wren
, is a passerine
bird of the Maluridae
family. Sedentary and territorial
, it is found across south-eastern Australia
. The male in breeding plumage has a striking bright blue forehead, ear coverts, mantle and tail with a black mask and black or dark blue throat. Non-breeding males, females and juveniles are predominantly grey-brown in colour. Two subspecies are recognised. Like other fairy-wrens, the Superb Fairy-wren is notable for several peculiar behavioural characteristics; birds are socially monogamous
and sexually promiscuous
. Male wrens pluck yellow petals and display them to females as part of a courtship display. The Superb Fairy-wren can be found in almost any area that has at least a little dense undergrowth for shelter. It has adapted well to the urban environment. The Superb Fairy-wren mainly eats insects and supplements its diet with seeds.
Collaboration of the month
Every month a different bird-related topic, article, stub or non-existent article is picked. Please improve the article any way you can.
|Class Aves, divided into superorders, orders, suborders (where indicated), and families.
The following Wikimedia
sister projects provide more on this subject: