Birds (class Aves) are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic (warm-blooded), egg-laying, vertebrate animals. With around 10,000 living species, they are the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. All present species belong to the subclass Neornithes, and inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from the 5 cm (2 in) Bee Hummingbird to the 2.75 m (9 ft) Ostrich. The fossil record indicates that birds emerged within theropod dinosaurs during the Jurassic period, around 160 million years (Ma) ago. Paleontologists regard birds as the only clade of dinosaurs to have survived the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 65.5 Ma (million years) ago.
Modern birds are characterised by feathers, a beak with no teeth, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a lightweight but strong skeleton. All living species of birds have wings- the most recent species without wings was the moa, which is generally considered to have become extinct in the 1500s. Wings are evolved forelimbs, and most bird species can fly. Flightless birds include ratites, penguins, and a number of diverse endemic island species. Birds also have unique digestive and respiratory systems that are highly adapted for flight. Some birds, especially corvids and parrots, are among the most intelligent animal species; a number of bird species have been observed manufacturing and using tools, and many social species exhibit cultural transmission of knowledge across generations.
Many species undertake long distance annual migrations, and many more perform shorter irregular movements. Birds are social; they communicate using visual signals and through calls and songs, and participate in social behaviours, including cooperative breeding and hunting, flocking, and mobbing of predators. The vast majority of bird species are socially monogamous, usually for one breeding season at a time, sometimes for years, but rarely for life. Other species have polygynous ("many females") or, rarely, polyandrous ("many males") breeding systems. Eggs are usually laid in a nest and incubated by the parents. Most birds have an extended period of parental care after hatching.
Many species are of economic importance, mostly as sources of food acquired through hunting or farming. Some species, particularly songbirds and parrots, are popular as pets. Other uses include the harvesting of guano (droppings) for use as a fertiliser. Birds figure prominently in all aspects of human culture from religion to poetry to popular music. About 120–130 species have become extinct as a result of human activity since the 17th century, and hundreds more before then. Currently about 1,200 species of birds are threatened with extinction by human activities, though efforts are underway to protect them.
Other articles related to "bird, birds":
... After he discovered his custard was popular, Bird formed Alfred Bird and Sons Ltd ... In World War I, Bird's Custard was supplied to the British armed forces ... The famous 'three bird' logo, however, was relatively late in arriving, only introduced in 1929 ...
... The Gurney's Pitta, Pitta gurneyi, is a medium-sized passerine bird ... This beautiful bird has a blue crown and black-and-yellow underparts ... The name of this bird commemorates the English ornithologist John Henry Gurney ...
... Generally speaking, bird strikes (when an aeroplane flies into a bird, the impact can cause severe damage from a bird striking the fuselage, engine, etc.) are not considered to be FOD strikes, unless ... Bird strikes are treated separately ...
... b/w "My Reward" "Mama-Oom-Mow-Mow (The Bird)" b/w "Waiting" "The Bird's The Word" b/w "I'm Losing My Grip" "The Shaky Bird (Part 1)" b/w "The Shaky Bird (Part 2)" "Cherry" b/w "Little Sally Walker ...
... Main article Bird conservation See also Late Quaternary prehistoric birds, List of extinct birds, and Raptor conservation Though human activities have allowed the expansion of a few species ... Over a hundred bird species have gone extinct in historical times, although the most dramatic human-caused avian extinctions, eradicating an estimated 750–1800 ... Many bird populations are declining worldwide, with 1,227 species listed as threatened by Birdlife International and the IUCN in 2009 ...
Famous quotes containing the word bird:
“Here and there a bird sang, a rose silenced her expression of him, and all the gaga flowers wondered. But they puzzled the wanderer with their vague wearinesses.”
—John Ashbery (b. 1927)
“I never saw a wild thing
Sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead
From a bough
Without ever having felt sorry for itself.”
—D.H. (David Herbert)
“And the one bird singing alone to his nest,
And the one star over the tower.
I thought of our little quarrels and strife,
And the letter that brought me back my ring;
And it all seemd then, in the waste of life,”
—Owen Meredith (18311891)