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The Birds Portal

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Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the class Aves , characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a strong yet lightweight skeleton. Birds live worldwide and range in size from the 5.5 cm (2.2 in) bee hummingbird to the 2.8 m (9 ft 2 in) ostrich. There are about ten thousand living species, more than half of which are passerine, or "perching" birds. Birds have wings whose development varies according to species; the only known groups without wings are the extinct moa and elephant birds. Wings, which evolved from forelimbs, gave birds the ability to fly, although further evolution has led to the loss of flight in some birds, including ratites, penguins, and diverse endemic island species. The digestive and respiratory systems of birds are also uniquely adapted for flight. Some bird species of aquatic environments, particularly seabirds and some waterbirds, have further evolved for swimming.

Birds are a group of feathered theropod dinosaurs, and constitute the only living dinosaurs. Likewise, birds are considered reptiles in the modern cladistic sense of the term, and their closest living relatives are the crocodilians. Birds are descendants of the primitive avialans (whose members include Archaeopteryx) which first appeared about 160 million years ago (mya) in China. According to DNA evidence, modern birds (Neornithes) evolved in the Middle to Late Cretaceous, and diversified dramatically around the time of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event 66 mya, which killed off the pterosaurs and all non-avian dinosaurs.

Many social species pass on knowledge across generations, which is considered a form of culture. Birds are social, communicating with visual signals, calls, and songs, and participating in such behaviours as cooperative breeding and hunting, flocking, and mobbing of predators. The vast majority of bird species are socially (but not necessarily sexually) monogamous, usually for one breeding season at a time, sometimes for years, but rarely for life. Other species have breeding systems that are polygynous (one male with many females) or, rarely, polyandrous (one female with many males). Birds produce offspring by laying eggs which are fertilised through sexual reproduction. They are usually laid in a nest and incubated by the parents. Most birds have an extended period of parental care after hatching.

Many species of birds are economically important as food for human consumption and raw material in manufacturing, with domesticated and undomesticated birds being important sources of eggs, meat, and feathers. Songbirds, parrots, and other species are popular as pets. Guano (bird excrement) is harvested for use as a fertiliser. Birds figure throughout human culture. About 120 to 130 species have become extinct due to human activity since the 17th century, and hundreds more before then. Human activity threatens about 1,200 bird species with extinction, though efforts are underway to protect them. Recreational birdwatching is an important part of the ecotourism industry. (Full article...)

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Selected general bird topic

Male common teal producing feeding traces on a River Tyne mudflat.

Bird ichnology is the study of avian life traces in ornithology and paleontology. Such life traces can include footprints, nests, feces and coproliths. Scientists gain insight about the behavior and diversity of birds by studying such evidence.

Ichnofossils (or ichnites) are especially important for clarifying the evolution and prehistoric diversity of taxa. These cannot usually be associated with a particular genus, let alone species of bird, as hardly ever they are associated with fossil bones. But it is possible to group them into ichnotaxa based on their morphology (form). In practice, the details of shape that reveal the birds' behavior or biologic affinity are generally given more weight in ichnologic classification. (Full article...)

Selected taxon

Pied oystercatcher
(Haematopus longirostris)

The oystercatchers are a group of waders forming the family Haematopodidae, which has a single genus, Haematopus. They are found on coasts worldwide apart from the polar regions and some tropical regions of Africa and South East Asia. The exceptions to this are the Eurasian oystercatcher, the South Island oystercatcher, and the Magellanic oystercatcher, which also breed inland, far inland in some cases. In the past there has been a great deal of confusion as to the species limits, with discrete populations of all black oystercatchers being afforded specific status but pied oystercatchers being considered one single species.

The name oystercatcher was coined by Mark Catesby in 1731 as a common name for the North American species H. palliatus, described as eating oysters. Yarrell in 1843 established this as the preferred term, replacing the older name sea pie or sea-pie. The genus name Haematopus comes from the Greek haima ? blood, pous ? foot. (Full article...)
List of selected taxon articles


Anatomy:Anatomy o Skeleton o Flight o Eggs o Feathers o Plumage

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

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

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

Bird lists:Families and orders o Lists by region

Birds and humans:Ringing o Ornithology o Bird collections o Birdwatching o Birdfeeding o Conservation o Aviculture


--Moslih Eddin Saadi, [1] ...All quotes
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Free online resources:

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 US$40 a year.

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


Selected images

Selected bird anatomy topic

This stylised bird skeleton highlights the furcula
The furcula ("little fork" in Latin) or wishbone is a forked bone found in birds and some other species of dinosaurs, and is formed by the fusion of the two clavicles. In birds, its primary function is in the strengthening of the thoracic skeleton to withstand the rigors of flight. (Full article...)

Selected species

A male splendid fairy-wren (subsp. splendens)
The splendid fairy-wren (Malurus splendens), also known simply as the splendid wren or more colloquially in Western Australia as the blue wren, is a passerine bird of the family Maluridae. It is found across much of the Australian continent from central-western New South Wales and southwestern Queensland over to coastal Western Australia. The male in breeding plumage is a small, long-tailed bird of predominantly bright blue and black colouration. Non-breeding males, females and juveniles are predominantly grey-brown in colour. It comprises several similar all-blue and black subspecies that were originally considered separate species. Like other fairy-wrens, the splendid fairy-wren is notable for several peculiar behavioural characteristics; birds are socially monogamous and sexually promiscuous. Male wrens pluck pink or purple petals and display them to females as part of a courtship display. The habitat of the splendid fairy-wren ranges from forest to dry scrub, generally with ample vegetation for shelter. It has not adapted well to human occupation of the landscape and has disappeared from some urbanized areas. The splendid fairy-wren mainly eats insects and supplements its diet with seeds.

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More outstanding tasks at the project's cleanup listing, Category:Birds articles needing attention, and popflock.com Resource: WikiProject Birds/Todo.

Taxonomy of Aves

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  1. ^ Pennsylvania. Dept. of Common Schools; Pennsylvania State Education Association (1911). Pennsylvania School Journal. Pennsylvania State Education Association. p. 115. Retrieved 2020.

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