Are you curious to know which animals have feathers? Birds are the only animals with feathers, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and colours.
Feathers not only help birds fly but also protect them from the elements. Feathers also play a crucial role in attracting mates during mating season.
Feathers are made of keratin, the same protein that makes up human hair and nails. Birds have two types of feathers: down feathers and contour feathers. Down feathers are soft and fluffy and provide insulation to keep birds warm.
Contour feathers are the ones that give birds their shape and colour. They are more rigid and come in different shapes depending on their location on the bird’s body. For example, the feathers on a bird’s wings are long and narrow, while the feathers on its tail are shorter and wider.
If you’re looking for a bird that’s easy to identify, look no further than the American Robin. These birds are year-round visitors to suburban and rural backyards across North America, and they’re known for their warm orange chest and cheery song.
Male American Robins are often easier to identify than females. They have orange-coloured feathers on their chest, a yellow bill, a black head, and white outlines around their eyes. They also have grey wings and backs. Females are similar but have paler heads and backs and less distinct eye outlines.
American Robins are thrushes, which means they’re part of a family of birds that includes bluebirds and solitaires. They’re also one of the most common birds in North America, and you’re likely to see them foraging for food on lawns, in gardens, and parks.
One of the most interesting things about American Robins is how they find food. They’re known for their ability to locate earthworms by sight, which means they’re often seen running and pausing on open lawns. When they’re not nesting, they usually forage in flocks.
They build cup-shaped nests out of grass, twigs, and mud and often place them in the forks of trees or on ledges. The female lays pale blue or “robin’s-egg blue” eggs, usually four but sometimes three to seven. She incubates the eggs for 12-14 days, and then both parents feed the chicks until they’re ready to fledge.
If you’re looking for a bird with unique features, look no further than the kiwi. These flightless birds are native to New Zealand and are known for their hair-like feathers, strong legs, and lack of tails.
Kiwi birds are part of the ratite family, which includes other flightless birds like ostriches and emus. There are five known kiwi species, each with unique characteristics and subspecies.
One interesting fact about kiwis is that they are sometimes referred to as honorary mammals. This is because they have physical characteristics and habits that are more similar to mammals than birds. For example, kiwis have nostrils at the end of their long beaks, which they use to sniff out insects and other prey on the forest floor.
Another unique feature of kiwis is their feathers. Unlike most birds, kiwis have feathers that are more like hair. These feathers are loose and shaggy, which helps to insulate the bird in its cool forest habitat.
If you’re looking for a turkey with more pizzazz than your average Thanksgiving bird, look no further than the Ocellated Turkey. This tropical bird is native to the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, and parts of Belize and Guatemala.
One of the most striking features of Ocellated Turkey is its iridescent feathers. The body feathers of both males and females are a mix of bronze and green, and the males have a distinctive blue head and neck. The males also have a fleshy blue crown, or “snood,” on their heads that they can extend or retract to signal to potential mates.
While the Ocellated Turkey looks similar to the wild turkey found in North America, there are a few key differences. For one, the Ocellated Turkey is smaller, weighing in at around 8-12 pounds, compared to the wild turkey’s 16-24 pounds. The Ocellated Turkey also lacks the beard that is characteristic of the wild turkey.
In terms of habitat, the Ocellated Turkey can be found in a variety of environments, including lowland evergreen and tropical deciduous forests, marshland, savannah, abandoned farmland, and mature rainforest. They are known to frequent fields during breeding season.
These owls are known for their ghostly appearance, with a whitish face, chest, and belly, and buffy upperparts.
They’re also among the world’s most widely distributed species of owl, found almost everywhere except for the polar and desert regions, Asia north of the Himalayas, most of Indonesia, and some Pacific Islands.
Barn Owls are silent predators of the night world, and they hunt on buoyant wingbeats in open fields and meadows. Their eerie, raspy calls are quite unlike the hoots of other owls, making them easy to identify. Despite their nocturnal nature, Barn Owls can be found roosting in hidden, quiet places during the day.
One interesting fact about Barn Owls is their unique ability to locate prey in complete darkness. They have a facial disk that acts like a satellite dish, capturing and focusing sound waves to help them pinpoint the location of their prey. This adaptation allows them to hunt with incredible precision, even in total darkness.
Barn Owls are also known for their excellent hearing, essential for their hunting success. They have asymmetrical ear openings allowing them to locate prey using sound alone, even when hidden beneath snow or leaves.
If you are looking for a bird that loves bones, look no further than the Bearded Vulture. This bird of prey is also known as the Lammergeier, which means “lamb vulture” in German. It is a large bird that can grow up to 125 cm in length and has a 2.3-2.8 m wingspan.
One of the most interesting things about the Bearded Vulture is its diet. This bird is the only known vertebrate whose diet consists almost exclusively (70 to 90 per cent) of bone.
They eat bones from various animals, including sheep, goats, and even large carcasses like cows and horses. They use their powerful beaks to break open the bones and extract the nutritious bone marrow inside.
Another unique feature of the Bearded Vulture is its appearance. Adult birds have a white coat around their neck and chest, which they purposefully paint a rusty red by bathing in pools thick with iron deposits and rubbing it into themselves. This gives them a fiery appearance that is truly striking.
One of the most striking features of the American Kestrel is its colourful plumage. Males have blue-hued wings and one black bar on their orange tail feathers, while females have orange wings with black stripes and many black bars on their orange tail feathers.
American Kestrels are skilled hunters, preying on insects, small mammals, and other birds. They are also known for their acrobatic flight patterns, hovering mid-air as they search for prey.
Despite their small size, American Kestrels are fierce defenders of their territory. They will aggressively defend their nest and young against any potential threats, including larger birds of prey.
Common Buzzards are found throughout the UK and other parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. They are medium-sized birds weighing between 500 and 1400 grams, with a wingspan of up to 1.4 meters.
One of the most distinctive features of the Common Buzzard is its call. They produce a mewing sound, which can often be heard when they are soaring overhead. They are also known for their ability to hover in the air, which makes them excellent hunters.
Common Buzzards are carnivorous and feed on various prey, including small mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects. They are opportunistic hunters and often take advantage of whatever prey is available.
In terms of appearance, Common Buzzards have a brown body with darker wings and a lighter underside. They have a distinctive pattern of dark bars on their tail feathers, which can help with identification. Juvenile Common Buzzards have a more mottled appearance, with a lighter head and neck.
These majestic creatures are named after the harpies of Greek mythology, and it’s easy to see why with their impressive wingspan of up to 7 feet.
One of the most striking features of the Harpy Eagle is its powerful talons. These birds have talons the size of grizzly bear claws and can exert a force of up to 500 pounds per square inch. This allows them to catch and carry prey much larger than themselves, such as monkeys and sloths.
Despite their fearsome reputation, Harpy Eagles are quite shy and elusive. They are found in the rainforests of Central and South America, where they spend most of their time perched high up in the canopy. They are most active during the early morning and late afternoon when they hunt for food.
If you’re looking for a bird that stands out in a crowd, the Roseate Spoonbill is definitely one to watch. With its bright pink feathers, red eyes, and distinctive spoon-shaped bill, this bird is a true showstopper.
The Roseate Spoonbill is found in Florida and the Gulf Coast marsh areas. While their populations were once threatened due to overhunting, they are now recovering and can be seen in many locations throughout their range.
One of the most unique features of the Roseate Spoonbill is its bill. The spoon-shaped bill is used to sweep through shallow waters, snapping up crustaceans and fish. They forage in groups and can often be seen flying with their necks outstretched to and from foraging and nesting areas along the coastal southeastern US.
Like many birds, the Roseate Spoonbill’s bright pink colour is diet-derived, consisting of the carotenoid pigment canthaxanthin. Another carotenoid, astaxanthin, can also be found deposited in flight and body feathers.
If you’re looking for a bird that’s a master of fishing, then look no further than the Osprey. These birds are unique among North American raptors for their diet of live fish and their ability to dive into the water to catch them. They are a common sight soaring over shorelines, patrolling waterways, and standing on their huge stick nests.
Ospreys are large, rangy hawks that do well around humans and have rebounded in numbers following the ban on the pesticide DDT. They have brown, white, black, and grey feathers, and their wingspan can reach nearly
6 ft. across. On average, they weigh a little over 3 lbs.
The Osprey’s diet consists almost entirely of fish, typically feeding on 4-12 inches long fish. The type of fish involved varies with the region, concentrating on species common in each locale, such as flounder, smelt, mullet, bullhead, sucker, and gizzard shad. Aside from fish, they rarely eat small mammals, birds, or reptiles, perhaps mainly when fish are scarce.
Ospreys are known for their impressive hunting skills. They can spot fish from high in the sky and then dive down at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour to catch them. When they catch a fish, they carry it headfirst to reduce wind resistance. They have reversible outer toes that help them grasp their prey, with two toes in front and two behind.
Ospreys build their nests near water, often on top of dead trees, telephone poles, or other man-made structures. They use sticks and other materials to create a large, bulky nest weighing up to 400 pounds. The nests can be reused for many years and grow over six feet in diameter.