There are thousands of facts that we don’t know about amazing birds. One article is not enough to satisfy our curiosity for knowledge. The first “The Amazing Birds” article drew hundreds of positive feedbacks and some readers asked and requested if there could be a follow up article. So, here it is fellows, Part 2 of “The Amazing Birds”. Hope you'll enjoy reading it.
The Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) is a tropical bird that lives in swamps, humid lowlands, backward lagoons and mangroves of northern and central South America. A slender bird about 65 cm in length, with small head and a long neck. Hoatzin is brown in color with featherless blue face and with spiky, Rufous crest. It also has maroon eyes and dark-brown back and buff underparts. What makes this bird amazing or odd — it has a smell similar to cow manure. This odor could be the byproduct when its diet of green leaves interact with a special digestive system
Most Creative Decorator
The Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) is found mostly along Australia’s southeastern coast living in woodlands, rainforests and nearby open areas. Younger ones are called ‘green bird’ with olive-green colored upperparts plumage, off-white underbody and brown wings. Adult males have shiny blue-black plumage and can grow up to 27cm to 33cm in length. The amazing thing about Satin bowerbird is the way it creates an elaborate “bachelor pad”. Studies show that males build this “bachelor pad” called bowers and decorates it with shiny objects specially blue-colored ones that may include: flowers, berries and even drinking straws and other useless plastic items.
Most Skilled Nest Builder
The Southern Masked-Weaver (Ploceus velatus)is found throughout southern Africa inhabiting woodlands and grasslands. It has a yellow head, an orange eye, a black bill and yellow-green underbelly. What’s amazing about this bird is the way it builds its nest. In just five days it makes an intricate sphere-like nest from grass with a bottom entrance that hangs from the tip of an overhead branch.
The Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) is a medium-sized pelican endemic to the coastal waters of Australia and New Guinea. It is largely white with a black blemish on the wings and about 1.6 to 1.8 m long and weigh up to 4 to 13 kg. The Australian pelican’s pinkish bill is 13-18.5 inches long, the largest bill of any known bird. A bill measured at 49 cm (19.5 in) long holds the record.
The Wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans) holds the record among the avian world for the largest wingspan. Its 11 foot wingspan helps this oceanic bird glides efficiently over the sea’s surface snatching its meal which includes: squid, fish, octopus and other marine animals.
Largest Field of Vision
The American woodcock (Scolopax minor) is a small shorebird from North America that lives in wet wooded lands and forest. It is tubby, with round head, a long straight bill and short pinkish legs. It holds the record among all known birds for the largest field of vision. American woodcock is able to see things all round and even over the top of its head because its large eyes are situated high in the head.
Tallest Flying Birds
The Sarus crane (Grus antigone) is found in India and some countries in Southeast Asia. It is the tallest flying bird in the world. It can reach 6 ft. 6 inches in height and a wingspan of about 8 feet. These elegant bird's body is light gray in color except for the throat and head. The legs and toes are red in color. It prefers habitat that includes: agricultural lands, ponds, marshes and uncultivated fields. Its diet includes: frogs, aquatic plants, seeds and grains.
Heaviest Flying Birds
The Great Bustard (Otis tarda) is the world’s heaviest flying bird. Widespread in Europe and across temperate Asia, it can weigh about 40-42 pounds. An adult male is about 90-110 cm long and a wingspan of about 2.1-2.5 m. It has a grey neck and head and brownish upperparts with white underbelly. It lives in open grassland and rolling landscapes, abundant in crops (cereals, oilseeds, fodder plants).
Heaviest Birds of Prey
Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) are massive birds found in the Andes mountains and western South America. These black condors with white “collar” around their necks are the heaviest species of bird of prey. Adult males can weigh up to 20-27 pounds and a wingspan of about 10 feet. They usually live in windy mountain regions where they can glide on air currents with ease. Andean Condors are mainly scavengers and their diet include, among others; deer, cattle, large animals and carcasses.
Most Airborne Bird
The Sooty Tern (Onychoprion fuscous)is a seabird living in tropical oceans throughout the equatorial zone. It breeds on flat, open, oceanic or barrier islands of sand rich in fish, squid and plankton. It is about 33-36 cm long with a 82-94 cm wingspan. What’s special about sooty tern is that it leaves its nesting grounds as a juvenile and remains in the air for 3-10 years, settling in water from time to time. It then settles back to land as an adult to breed.
Fastest Swimming Bird
The Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) has widespread populations found on the Antarctic Islands. This medium-sized penguin with an orange bill and a wide white bonnet-like stripe across the head is the undisputed fastest swimming bird. It can go underwater, reaching speeds of 40 km/h.
Most Abundant Bird
The Red-billed quelea (Quelea quelea)is a small bird found throughout Africa and is the world’s most abundant bird. Its breeding habitat includes savannahs, bushes, grasslands and agricultural lands. It has an estimated breeding population of more than 1.5 billion. Red-billed Quelea mostly feed on grass seeds and grain.
Check out other Amazing Birds posts:
The World's Amazing Birds
Amazing Birds 3
Amazing Birds 4: The Raptors