Physical World/Birds

From Quiz Revision Notes

Struthio camelus

It can run at speeds of about 40 mph, the top land speed of any bird. The ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest egg of any bird species. It has just two toes on each foot (most birds have four), with the nail on the larger, inner toe resembling a hoof


genus Dromaius

The emu is the second largest bird in the world and the largest bird native to Australia

Female emus court the males

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Southern cassowary

(Casuarius casuarius)

The third tallest and second heaviest living bird, smaller only than the ostrich and emu

The most dangerous bird in the world. The blade-like claws are capable of killing humans and dogs if the bird is provoked


genus Apteryx

Endemic to New Zealand. Kiwi is the only ratite that does not have a reduced number of toes. Kiwis lay the largest egg in relation to their body size of any species of bird in the world. Kiwi is the smallest living ratite


Strigops habroptilus

The world’s only flightless parrot, from New Zealand. Also called the owl parrot, it is nocturnal and ground-dwelling

The total known population is only 200 living individuals


Nestor notabilis

A parrot found in forested and alpine regions of the South Island of New Zealand. The Kea is one of the few recorded alpine parrots in the world. Destroys rubber parts of cars


Eolophus roseicapilla

Also known as the rose-breasted cockatoo or ‘pink and grey’

They are extremely noisy, often screeching, hanging upside down, dancing and playing

Galah is also derogatory Australian slang, synonymous with fool or idiot


Nymphicus hollandicus

A member of the cockatoo family endemic to Australia

The cockatiel's distinctive erectile crest expresses the animal's emotional state

Laughing kookaburra

Dacelo novaeguineae

A carnivorous bird in the family Halcyonidae. Native to eastern Australia. Known for its laughing call. Previously known as the Laughing Jackass

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Andean condor

Vultur gryphus

The largest largest flying land bird in South America

Heaviest bird of prey. Andean condor has a maximum wingspan of 3.2 m

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Red-crowned crane

Grus japonensis

Famous for dances during the breeding season. Heaviest species of crane

Adult red-crowned cranes are named for a patch of red bare skin on the crown, which becomes brighter in the mating season

Resplendent quetzal

Pharomachrus mocinno

Plays an important role in Mesoamerican mythologies. The resplendent quetzal is Guatemala's national bird, and an image of it is on the flag and coat of arms of Guatemala. It is also the name of the local currency


genus Menura

They are most notable for their ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from their environment. Lyrebirds are notable because of the striking beauty of the male bird's huge tail when it is fanned out in display; and also because of their courtship display


family Ptilonorhynchidae

Bowerbirds are most known for their unique courtship behaviour, where males build a structure and decorate it with sticks and brightly coloured objects in an attempt to attract a mate


genus Cracticus

Similar to magpies. They get their name from their habit of impaling captured prey on a thorn, tree fork, or crevice. This "larder" is used to support the victim while it is being eaten, to store prey for later consumption, or to attract mates


family Dicruridae

Small, insectivorous Australasian bird

The word drongo is used as a mild form of insult meaning "idiot". This usage derives from an Australian racehorse of the same name rather than the bird


genus Bombycilla

Waxwings are characterised by their silky plumage. They have unique red tips to some of the wing feathers where the shafts extend beyond the barbs; these tips look like sealing wax, and give the group its common name

Rhinoceros hornbill

Buceros rhinoceros

Characterized by a long, down-curved heavy bill. Hornbills are the only birds in which the first two neck vertebrae (the axis and atlas) are fused together. Many hornbill species have ‘casques’, decorative growths on the upper mandible of the bill

Mouth of the hornbill nest is a small slit through which the male feeds the female

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Secretary bird

Sagittarius serpentarius

Looks like it has quill pens tucked behind the ear. It is a bird of prey endemic to Africa and kills snakes

It appears on the coats of arms of Sudan and South Africa

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Bee hummingbird

Mellisuga helenae

With a mass around 1.6–2 g and a length of 5–6 cm, it is the smallest living bird

Hummingbirds have the highest metabolism of any homeothermic animal

Red-billed Quelea

Quelea quelea

The world's most abundant wild bird species, with an estimated adult breeding population of 1.5 billion pairs. The distribution area of the Red-billed Quelea covers the majority of sub-Saharan Africa


genus Sula

Blue-footed and red-footed species

Their name was possibly based on the Spanish slang term bobo, meaning "stupid", as these tame birds had a habit of landing on board sailing ships

Great northern loon

Gavia immer

Known as the great northern diver in Eurasia

Well known in Canada, appearing on the one-dollar "loonie" coin and the previous series of $20 bills, and is the provincial bird of Ontario


genus Pitohui

Poisonous bird. The skin and feathers of some pitohuis, especially the variable and hooded pitohuis, contain powerful neurotoxic alkaloids

Endemic to New Guinea

Common poorwill

Phalaenoptilus nuttallii

Nocturnal bird in the nightjar family

The only bird known to go into torpor for extended periods. Such an extended period of torpor is close to a state of hibernation, not known among other birds

Baltimore oriole

Icterus galbula

It received its name from the resemblance of the male's colours to those on the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore. It is the inspiration for the Baltimore Orioles baseball team

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Northern cardinal

Cardinalis cardinalis

Also known as the redbird

It is the mascot of the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball's National League and the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League


family Threskiornithidae

Wading birds. All spoonbills have large, flat, spatulate bills and feed by wading through shallow water, sweeping the partly opened bill from side to side

Eurasian bittern

Botaurus stellaris

Also known as the great bittern

A wading bird in the heron family. The mating call or contact call of the male is a deep, sighing fog-horn or bull-like "boom"


genus Geococcyx

Also known as a chaparral bird. A fast-running (up to 20 mph) ground cuckoo that has a long tail and a crest

Wile E. Coyote tries to catch a roadrunner in the Looney Tunes cartoons


family Phalacrocoracidae

There is no consistent distinction between "cormorants" and "shags"

Humans have used cormorants' fishing skills in China and Japan, where they have been trained by fishermen

Great egret

Ardea alba

Also known as the common egret or great white heron

Egrets are not a biologically distinct group from the herons, and tend to be named differently because they are mainly white or have decorative plumes


Regulus regulus

Known as the "king of the birds" in European folklore. Member of the kinglet family

The goldcrest is the smallest European bird. It has greenish upper-parts, whitish under-parts, and has two white wingbars

Pied avocet

Recurvirostra avosetta

The pied avocet was extinct as a breeding species in Great Britain by 1840. Its successful recolonisation at Minsmere, Suffolk, in 1947 led to its adoption as the logo of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

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Northern lapwing

Vanellus vanellus

Also known as the peewit (from its cry), green plover, or (in the British Isles) just lapwing (which refers to its peculiar, erratic way of flying). It has rounded wings and a crest

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Great bustard

Otis tarda

Possibly the heaviest living flying animal. It also arguably the most sexual dimorphic extant bird species, in terms of the size difference between males and females

It was hunted out of existence in Britain by the 1840s. In 2004, a project overseeing the reintroduction to Salisbury Plain in using eggs taken from Russia was undertaken

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Red kite

Milvus milvus

By the 20th century, the breeding population was restricted to a handful of pairs in South Wales, but recently the Welsh population has been supplemented by re-introductions in England and Scotland

Western capercaillie

Tetrao urogallus

Also known as the wood grouse or heather cock. Largest member of the grouse family

The word capercaillie is a corruption of the Scottish Gaelic capull coille, meaning "horse of the woods"

Rock ptarmigan

Lagopus muta

A medium-sized gamebird in the grouse family. It is seasonally camouflaged; its feathers moult from white in winter to brown in spring. It is the only British bird to change plumage between winter and summer

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Barn owl

Tyto alba

The most widely distributed species of owl and the most widespread landbird species in the world, occurring in every continent except Antarctica. The face is characteristically heart-shaped and is white. This owl does not hoot, but utters an eerie shriek

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Tawny owl

Strix aluco

Also known as the brown owl

Mentioned in Love's Labour's Lost "Then nightly sings the staring owl, Tu-whit; Tu-who"

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Great grey owl

Strix nebulosa

World's largest species of owl by length

Adults have a large rounded head with a grey face and yellow eyes

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Eurasian eagle-owl

Bubo bubo

One of the largest living species of owl

It has distinctive ear tufts and orange eyes

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Emperor penguin

Aptenodytes forsteri

The tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species. Endemic to Antarctica

The only penguin species that breeds during the Antarctic winter. The female lays a single egg, which is incubated by the male while the female returns to the sea to feed

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Macaroni penguin

Eudyptes chrysolophus

One of six species of crested penguin, it is very closely related to the royal penguin

English sailors in the Falkland Islands apparently named the species for its conspicuous yellow crest

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Adélie penguin

Pygoscelis adeliae

They are named after the Antarctic territory of Adélie Land, in turn named for the wife of French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville who discovered the penguins in 1840

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Galapagos penguin

Spheniscus mendiculus

Endemic to the Galapagos Islands. It is the only penguin that lives north of the equator in the wild