Portal:Birds

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Birds

The Birds Portal

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Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the class Aves /ˈvz/, 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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A traditional scarecrow.

Bird scarers are a number of devices designed to scare birds, usually employed by farmers to dissuade birds from eating recently planted arable crops.

They are also used on airfields to prevent birds accumulating near runways and causing a potential hazard to aircraft. ( Full article...)
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The tits, chickadees, and titmice constitute the Paridae, a large family of small passerine birds which occur mainly in the Northern Hemisphere and Africa. Most were formerly classified in the genus Parus.

Members of this family are commonly referred to as "tits" throughout much of the English speaking world, but North American species are called either "chickadees" ( onomatopoeic, derived from their distinctive "chick-a dee dee dee" alarm call) or "titmice". The name titmouse is recorded from the 14th century, composed of the Old English name for the bird, mase ( Proto-Germanic *maison, Dutch mezen, German Meise), and tit, denoting something small. The former spelling, "titmose", was influenced by mouse in the 16th century. Emigrants to New Zealand presumably identified some of the superficially similar birds of the genus Petroica of the family Petroicidae, the Australian robins, as members of the tit family, giving them the title tomtit, although, in fact, they are not related.

These birds are mainly small, stocky, woodland species with short, stout bills. Some have crests. They range in length from 10 to 22 cm (3.9 to 8.7 in). They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. Many species live around human habitation and come readily to bird feeders for nuts or seed, and learn to take other foods. ( Full article...)
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-- Douglas Adams, [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.

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Selected bird anatomy topic

The M. protractor pterygoidei et quadrati is a cranial muscle that pulls the streptostylic quadrate dorsorostrally in birds. ( Full article...)
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Selected species

Bald eagle in flight
The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey found in North America, most recognizable as the national bird and one of the primary symbols of the United States.

The species was on the brink of extirpation in the contiguous United States (while flourishing in much of Alaska and Canada) late in the 20th century, but now has a stable population and has been officially removed from the U.S. federal government's list of endangered species. The bald eagle was officially reclassified from "endangered" to "threatened" on July 12, 1995 by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. On July 6, 1999, a proposal was initiated "To Remove the Bald Eagle in the Lower 48 States From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife."


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

Taxonomy of Aves

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Sources

  1. ^ Adams, Douglas (1987). Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. New York, NY, US: Pocket Books. p. 270. ISBN  978-0-671-74672-8.

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