When a bird flies, it is an amazing thing to watch. How they take flight, glide through the air and land with ease is very intriguing. Birds are the only animals that have feathers, and not all birds fly. You can find birds just about anywhere, and some people think birds make great pets.
Birds are the only animals that have feathers and belong to the scientific class called Aves. A bird’s feathers are what help them fly and stay warm or cool in different climates. Birds are warm-blooded, egg-laying animals that have vertebrae, or a backbone. They are different from mammals because they lay hard-shelled eggs and have feathers. A bird has four limbs—two that are wings—along with a beak and no teeth. According to the website "Where in City," there are about 10,000 living species, or different kinds, of birds.
The skeletal system of a bird is very lightweight but strong, which helps the bird fly. Some birds are very small, with the smallest being the bee hummingbird. According to the website "Kids Konnect," the bee hummingbird is 2 inches long. The largest bird is the ostrich, which can be as tall as 9 feet. Birds are biped animals, which means they have two feet that they use to walk, hop or run.
Not all birds use their wings to fly. You might be surprised to find out that there are several that hardly use their wings for flight at all such as the otsrich, kiwi and emu. Penguins have feathers and wings and don’t use their wings to fly but to swim and navigate through the water. There are other kinds of birds that don’t use their wings to fly often or for long distances such as peacocks and roadrunners.
When birds communicate, they use songs and calls. These songs and calls are special to each bird and mean different things. Birds are social animals and like to work together, and they flock together for protection and company. A bird might also use its body to communicate, as seen in special mating dances.
A bird’s beak, or bill, is different depending on the diet of the bird. If a bird is a meat eater, or raptor, such as a bald eagle, they have a sharper curved beak that is used to help tear the meat off the animal they are eating. Birds that live off the water, such as ducks and swans, have flat rounded bills, which help them root around in marshes and soft soil for plants. Birds that eat insects, such as sparrows, have short pointed beaks, which help them pull out bugs from the ground or trees.
According to the website "Where in City," flamingoes are pink because shrimp are the main staple of their diet. And flamingoes eat with their heads upside down to strain excess water from their mouths.
About the Author
Sarah Lipoff has been writing since 2008. She has been published through BabyZone, Parents, Funderstanding and Education.com. Lipoff has worked as a K-12 art teacher, museum educator and preschool teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Science in K-12 art education from St. Cloud State University.