Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic (warm-blooded), egg-laying, vertebrate animals. There are about 9000 to 10,000 living species of birds in the world. Birds are characterized by feathers, a beak without teeth, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a light but strong skeleton. Most of the birds migrate to long distance places annually but some birds migrate for shorter distance. They are social and communicate using visual signals and through calls and bird song.
· The chicken is the most common species of bird found in the world.
· Since the 1800's, 103 bird species have become extinct in the world. The main reason is man's invasion of their territory.
· According to the BBC, the oldest parrot on record is a Blue and Gold Macaw named Charlie. Charlie is reported to have been owned by Winston Churchill, and is believed to be 104 years of age.
· There are over 350 species of parrots in the world.
· The smallest parrot species are the Pygmy Parrots, who average at about 8cm in length.
· The largest of the parrot species is the Hyacinth Macaw, which can grow to a length of about 40 inches from the beak to the end of the tailfeathers.
· The smallest bird in the world is the Humming Bird. It weighs less than 1 oz (or 1g).
· 75% of wild birds die before they are 6 months old.
· The Ostrich is the largest bird in the world. It also lays the largest eggs and has the fastest maximum running speed (97 kph).
· Scientists believe that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs.
· The longest Latin name of any bird is Griseotyrannus aurantioatrocristatus, or the Crowned Slaty Flycatcher of South America.
· When active, a humming bird breathes around 300-500 times every minute. The heart of a humming bird makes up for around 20% of the body volume. The heartbeat ranges from 30-1500 per minute, depending on the specie and the activity.
· The Humming birds are the only birds that can fly backwards.
· Some bird species, usually flightless birds, have only a lower eyelid, whereas pigeons use upper and lower lids to blink.
· The eyes of the chameleon can move independently & can see in two different directions at the same time.
· The chameleon snatches up its insect prey in a fraction of a second. It waits for an insect to land within range, and then it shoots out its long tongue. The insect is caught on the sticky tip of the tongue.
· The Chameleon can focus its eyes separately to watch two objects at once.
· The Chameleon's tongue is as long as its body.
· Some parrot species must fly over 500 miles a day in the wild to forage for food.
· Most birds sit on their eggs to incubate them, but not this common scrub hen. Instead, it uses the heat from volcanoes to keep its eggs warm. It buries its eggs in the side of a volcano on the pacific island where it lives.
· Around 20% of bird species migrate long distances every year.
· Birds evolved from small meat-eating dinosaurs around 150 million years ago.
· An eagle can kill a young deer and fly away with it.
· California condors can fly 10 miles without flapping their wings.
· A bird's heart beats 400 times per minute while they are at rest. When they are flying however, their heart could beat up to 1000 beats per minute.
· A bird's normal body temperature is usually 7-8 degrees hotter than humans.
· Penguins, ostriches, and dodo birds are all birds that do not fly.
· An ostrich can run up to 70 km/h (43mph).
· Hummingbirds eat about every ten minutes, slurping down twice their body weight in nectar every day.
· Falcons can swoop at over 200 mph.
· Air sacs may make up 1/5 of the body volume of a bird.