More and more people are enjoying my series of articles about amazing birds. Indeed, birds are magnificent creations of Mother Nature. These beautiful creatures truly add beauty and inspirations to our lives. These birds inspire poetry and art as well as giving us some form of hope by simply watching them fly or call. So, for us to understand more about them, here is “Amazing Birds 3” to enjoy.
A bird that can eat only when its head is upside down
Flamingos are found in both the Western Hemisphere and in the Eastern Hemisphere. They are well-known for their ability to stand on one leg. The reason for this behavior is not fully known. Aside from being able to stand in the water, flamingos use their webbed feet by stamping it in the mud to stir up food from the bottom. Flamingos feed mostly on shrimps and blue-green algae. Gifted with oddly-shaped beaks, they use them to separate mud and silt from their meal and are uniquely used upside-down. Their typical pink coloring is caused by the beta carotene obtained from their food supply.
What do these birds do with their prey after catching it?
Shrikes are perching songbirds of the family Laniidae. They are medium-sized birds about 50 centimeters long with black and white, brown, grey or brown plumage. Their beaks are hooked and their calls are loud.
Shrikes usually sit on an exposed perch and wait to catch their prey such as: insects, small birds, or mammals. Shrikes exhibit a weird behavior in catching its prey that involve spearing the prey while it’s still alive on thorns, twig, spines, or other sharp objects. They can eat it right away or may leave uneaten portions for later consumption. The “ Butcher birds” as they are sometimes called are the only birds that engage in this bizarre practice.
A bird that really takes care of its tail
The Resplendent Quetzal live in the tropical forests of South America and in some parts of Mexico. It has green body, red chest and a long green tail. Males have helmet-like crest and yellow beak while females have black beak. Resplendent Quetzal average 36 cm (14 in) long and weighs about 210 g. Their diet include: fruits, lizards, insects, and other small creatures.
During mating season, male quetzals grow twin tail feathers up to three feet (one meter) long. Because of its long tail, male must launch itself backwards in taking flight from a branch in order not to rip its tail to shreds.
A bird that does not need contact lenses to change the color of its eyes and a hunting technique that makes this bird unique in the world
The Brown Pelican is the only dark pelican and the smallest among the eight species of pelican. It measures about 106-137 cm and weighs from 2.75 to 5.5 kg. It is found living on the coasts of northern Chile, Washington and Virginia, on the Amazon River’s and in the island of Saut d’Eau in Trinidad and Tobago. It is a large, dark waterbird with webbed feet. Its tail and legs are short but has long bill with extensible pouch. Brown pelican can grow up to 100-137 cm in length and can weigh up to 2000-5000 g.
What make Brown Pelican an amazing bird is the way it catch fish; it dives head first from the sky into the water catch its food. Another amazing trait this bird has is that it does not need a contact lenses to change the color of its eyes iris. During the off-breeding season, ability to their eyes are brown but when the breeding season begins, the iris color changes to a coffee cream white.
A bird that has a unique adaptation to prevent sand and debris from getting under its wings when it scratches for feeds.
The Brown Thrasher is a large long-tailed bird found in North America. It has a brown or rufuos upper body with two white bars on each wing. Its beak is quite big and somewhat curved. Brown Thrasher averages about 29 cm in length and weighs up to 61-89 g . It is often seen on the ground searching for foods that include: insects, earthworms, berries, nuts snails and seeds. What’s unique about this bird – its side feathers are raised to overlap the folded wing, in turn shielding the area under the wing from sand and debris as it searches for food.
The most prolific avian ant eater in the world
The Northern Flicker is a medium-sized woodpecker that is endemic to most of North America, Cuba and some parts of Central America. They can reach to about 32 cm in length. Adults typically are brown with black bars on the back with dark tail. Its upper breast is mark with necklace-like black patch, while its lower breast including its belly are rufous with black spots. It is the only woodpecker that usually feeds on the ground. Ants are its favorite food, probing with their bill it digs and forages in the dirt to find them. It accounts for 45% of their diet, but Northern Flicker will occasionally eat seeds, grains nuts and acorn.
A bird that has sonar
The Oilbird is a slim, long-winged bird found in South America and on the island of Trinidad in forests and woodland with caves. This nocturnal species really loves to feed on the fruit of the Oil Palm. A reddish-brown bird with white spots on wings, it has small feet but has a powerfully hooked bill. Oilbird can grow up to 41-48 cm in length. During the day these sociable birds rest on cave ledges. Although it hunts by sight, it is the only nocturnal bird that is able to navigate by echolocation in dark conditions, using a series of sharp audible clicks for this purpose.
The only bird that drinks water the way people do
The Rock Pigeon belongs to the bird family Columbidae (doves and pigeons). They inhabit agricultural and open and semi-open environments in most part of the world. They have dark bluish-gray heads with two black bars on each wing but some domestic and feral pigeons have various color patterns.
While most birds have to scoop up water and move their head a little backward so that gravity help the water flow down, Rock doves drink water the way we do — sucking it up against gravity.
The bird that cannot walk backwards and lay emerald/forest green eggs
The Emu is Australia’s largest bird. This flightless bird that has soft, brown plumage can reach up to 2 meters in height and can weigh between 18 and 48 kilograms. Emus can travel great distances and can sprint at 50 km/h. They have long necks and legs and small vestigial wings. They have a soft bill, suited for grazing on a variety of plants and insects such as: ants, caterpillar, grasshoppers and crickets.
A bird that destroys eggs in other bird’s nests and replaces them with her own.
The cuckoos are typically slender medium-sized birds mostly tree-dwellers but some are terrestrial. There are about 142 species of cuckoo that range in size from 16 cm to 63 cm. Plumage coloring varies with each species ranging from yellow, gray to cream. Majority of cuckoos have a long tail and short legs except the ground cuckoo that has long legs and is a fast runner. They eat spiders, butterflies, beetles, caterpillars, moths, and insect larvae which they catch with their downward-curving beaks.
Almost 50% of cuckoo species are brood parasites meaning they destroys eggs in other bird’s nests (birds of other species) and replace them with their own. The eggs are impulsively cared for by the destroyed eggs’ mother.
Check out other Amazing Birds posts:
The World's Amazing Birds
The World's Amazing Birds 2
Amazing Birds 4: The Raptors