On the blue corner

Superb Fairy-wren, Malurus cyaneus, juvenile

Yes! At last, we are back to our two antagonists!

Several weeks ago, I featured an article about the unobtrusive but very helpful worm. Now it’s time to take a look at one of its natural predators – the bird!

Birds come in all forms and sizes, in diffrent colors and different habitats… but one things connects them all as members of the avian family – they are “bipedal, warm-blooded, oviparous vertebrate animals characterized primarily by feathers, forelimbs modified as wings, and (in most) hollow bones.” I suppose you already know what bipedal and warm-blooded mean? But does it mean to be an oviparous animal? “Oviparous animals are animals that lay eggs,” that means, egg-head, that after reproduction, the egg is laid in the nest or any other substitute for it. The egg is the zygote, which helps the embryo grow.

What are other characteristics of birds? Most birds are active during the day, but a few like the famous owl are active during the night. Many birds also travel longs distance. The familiar phrase “to go down south for the winter” came from people observing migratory birds who travel to the tropics when it is winter in the northern hemisphere.

Birds also have bony beaks, often with no teeth. Their bones are light but strong and also happen to be hollow. This unique bone feature allows the bird to fly at ease, otherwise, they’d be too weighed upon, they’d have trouble lifting off the ground – or even soaring through the skies.

Anatomy of a typical bird

       

Also, “there are over 10,000 species of birds in the world. About 925 have been seen in the U.S. and Canada, 1,000 have been seen in Europe. By far the largest concentration of bird species are found in South America – over 3,200 species have been seen there, particularly in Colombia, Bolivia and Peru where the species count for each country tops 1,700.”

Below are some general figures for the species count for each continent:

     3,200  South America
     2,900  Asia
     2,300  Africa
     2,000  North America (from Panama north + Caribbean)
     1,700  Australia + surrounding islands
     1,000  Europe
     65  Antarctica

Did you know?

Unlike mammals, birds don’t urinate. Their kidneys extract nitrogenous wastes from the bloodstream, but instead of excreting it as urea dissolved in urine as we do, they excrete it in the form of uric acid. Uric acid has a very low solubility in water, so it emerges as a white paste. This material, as well as the output of the intestines, emerges from the bird’s cloaca. The cloaca is a multi-purpose hole for birds: their wastes come out of it, they have sex by putting their cloacas together, and females lay eggs out of it.

For more information about birds, click any of my sources below. 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird#Trivia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oviparous
http://www.birding.com/Species.asp

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By iamjoe Posted in A v A

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