Portal:Birds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Introduction

Bird Diversity 2013.png

Birds, also known as Aves, are a group of endothermic vertebrates, 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 cm (2 in) bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m (9 ft) ostrich. They rank as the world’s most numerically-successful class of tetrapods, with approximately ten thousand living species, more than half of these being passerines, sometimes known as perching birds. Birds have wings which are more or less developed depending on the 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 flightless birds, including ratites, penguins, and diverse endemic island species of birds. 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.

Reverse genetic engineering and the fossil record both demonstrate that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs, having evolved from earlier feathered dinosaurs within the theropod group, which are traditionally placed within the saurischian dinosaurs. The closest living relatives of birds are the crocodilians. Primitive bird-like dinosaurs that lie outside class Aves proper, in the broader group Avialae, have been found dating back to the mid-Jurassic period, around 170 million years ago. Many of these early "stem-birds", such as Archaeopteryx, were not yet capable of fully powered flight, and many retained primitive characteristics like toothy jaws in place of beaks, and long bony tails. DNA-based evidence finds that birds diversified dramatically around the time of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene extinction event 66 million years ago, which killed off the pterosaurs and all the non-avian dinosaur lineages. But birds, especially those in the southern continents, survived this event and then migrated to other parts of the world while diversifying during periods of global cooling. This makes them the sole surviving dinosaurs according to cladistics.

Some birds, especially corvids and parrots, are among the most intelligent animals; several bird species make and use tools, and many social species pass on knowledge across generations, which is considered a form of culture. Many species annually migrate great distances. Birds are social, communicating with visual signals, calls, and bird songs, and participating in such social behaviours as cooperative breeding and hunting, flocking, and mobbing of predators. The vast majority of bird species are socially monogamous (referring to social living arrangement, distinct from genetic monogamy), usually for one breeding season at a time, sometimes for years, but rarely for life. Other species have breeding systems that are polygynous (arrangement of one male with many females) or, rarely, polyandrous (arrangement of 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. Some birds, such as hens, lay eggs even when not fertilised, though unfertilised eggs do not produce offspring.

Many species of birds are economically important as food for human consumption and raw material in manufacturing, with domesticated and undomesticated birds (poultry and game) 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 prominently figure throughout human culture. About 120–130 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.

Selected general bird topic

A top of broken glass provides an effective physical deterrent to birds considering resting on this wall.

Bird control is the generic name for methods to eliminate or deter pest birds from landing, roosting and nesting.

Bird control is important because pest birds can create health-related problems through their feces, including histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and psittacosis. Bird droppings may also cause damage to property and equipment. Birds also frequently steal from crops and fruit orchards. Read more...

Selected taxon

A female red-headed barbet
(Eubucco bourcierii) in Peru

New World barbets, family Capitonidae, are near passerine birds of the order Piciformes which inhabit humid forests in Central and South America. They are closely related to the toucans.

The New World barbets are plump birds, with short necks and large heads. They get their name from the bristles which fringe their heavy bills. Most species are brightly coloured and live in tropical forest.

These barbets are mostly arboreal birds which nest in tree holes dug by breeding pairs, laying 2–4 eggs. They eat fruit and insects. These birds do not migrate. Read more...

Topics

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 • Accipitriformes • 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

Quotes

...All quotes
...Show another quote

Resources

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

The M. protractor pterygoidei et quadrati is a cranial muscle that pulls the streptostylic quadrate dorsorostrally in birds. Read more...

Selected species

Mourning dove
The mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) is a member of the dove family Columbidae. The bird is also called the American mourning dove, and formerly was known as the Carolina pigeon or Carolina turtledove. It ranges from Central America to southern Canada, including offshore islands. Many individuals in northern areas migrate south to spend winter within the breeding range where January temperatures are above −12° Celsius (10°F). Habitats include various open and semi-open environments, including agricultural and urban areas. The species has adapted well to areas altered by humans. The bird is abundant, with an estimated population of 130 million birds. In many areas, the mourning dove is hunted as a game bird for both sport and its meat. Its plaintive woo-oo-oo-oo call is common throughout its range, as is the whistling of its wings as it takes flight. The species is a strong flier, capable of speeds up to 88 km/h (55 mph).

Mourning doves are light grey and brown and generally muted in color. Males and females are similar in appearance. The species is generally monogamous, with two squabs (young) per brood. Both parents care for the young for a time. The species is a prolific breeder, and pairs will often have several broods per year. In warm areas, a pair may have up to six broods a year. Mourning doves eat mainly seeds, including those of both native and introduced plants.


Did you know

Categories

WikiProjects

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:


Here are some tasks awaiting attention:

More outstanding tasks at the cleanup listing on Labs, Category:Birds articles needing attention, and Wikipedia:WikiProject Birds/Todo.

Taxonomy of Aves

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wikivoyage 
Travel guides

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database

Wikispecies 
Species

Purge server cache