'/> Amazing Animals: April 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

10 Fascinating Birds That Start with The Letter Y

They may not be as beautiful or as popular compared to their more illustrious cousins, but certainly these birds whose names start with the letter Y are simply colorful and fascinating creatures.

Yellow-billed Kingfisher

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The Yellow-billed Kingfisher (Syma torotoro) is a medium-sized kingfisher widespread in New Guinea and in northern Australia. This fascinating bird prefers monsoon forest and rainforest as habitat. The species feeds on earthworms, lizards and larger insects. Adult males measure 20 cm long, with a wingspan of about 29 cm, and weigh around 40 g. It has a large head, a sturdy body, long pointed bill, white throat, and broad blue tail.

This highly territorial tree kingfisher is well-known for its characteristic yellow coloration. Generally, the head and neck are orange in color with black patches on the nape. It has dark olive-black flight feathers and a dull green-blue upperwings. Voice: calls include loud, repeated whistling trills. Conservation status: Least Concern.

Yellow-billed Stork

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The Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)is a large wading bird, widespread in East Africa and Madagascar. The species prefers aquatic habitats such as; mud flats, coastal lagoons, shallow lakes, large marshes, flooded grasslands, meadows and rice paddies. It feeds mostly on crustaceans, frogs, insects, small fish, and worms. Adult male measures to about 90 – 105 cm tall and weighs up to 2.3 kg. The yellow-billed stork is listed as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.

This species has a characteristic yellow bill, almost white plumage, except for the flight feathers and tail which are black. the with red skin at its base that extends onto its face. The long, slightly downward-curved bill is tailor-made for catching its prey. Furthermore, its long dark-red legs serve as a body-stabilizer while searching in water for prey. Yellow-billed storks have a creative way to catch prey – using one foot to stir up the water which disturbs and flushes out possible victim.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

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The Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) is a small heron widespread throughout warmer regions of North America. These migratory birds prefer wetland habitats during the breeding season. Adults measure to about 61 cm long and weigh 625 grams. Adults have gray body, black face with white stripe below the eye, black bill, red eyes, and yellow legs.

Adults have gray body, black face with white stripe below the eye, black bill, red eyes, and yellow legs. A night predator, they stalk their prey or wait in ambush along marshes, shorelines, and fields. Then they pounce on their prey and grab hold of it in their bill. These fascinating birds feed on aquatic insects, crustaceans, frogs, mollusks, and small fish.

Yellow-Eyed Penguin

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The Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) is a penguin endemic to New Zealand. The Hoiho, as it is also called, lives and breeds in the coastal forest of New Zealand on and around Stewart Island and Campbell Islands. Both sexes work together to build their nest (a shallow bowl shape in the ground) far away in the forest or thick grasses. Yellow-eyed Penguin is classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List 2007.

On average, the species measures around 62–79 cm (24–31 in) long and weighs from 4.5 to 6 kilograms (10 to 13 pounds.) This fascinating bird can easily be recognized by its light-yellow head and yellow-orange cat-like eyes with black feather shafts. They also have a band of bright yellow feathers running from the bill and circling the eyes and around the back of the head. These birds are slate grey with a white breast. This species of penguin feed mostly on fish and occasionally cephalopods such as the arrow squid.

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

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The Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus) is a large cockatoo widespread in forested regions of the south-east of Australia. Their preferred habitats include: grassy woodland, riparian forest, and pine plantations This species of birds nest in hollows positioned high in Eucalyptus trees. Generally, adult male measures 55–65 cm (22–26 in) long and weighs around 750–900 grams.

Unlike other dark-plumaged birds, the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo sports yellow tail and ear markings. Overall, it is brownish black in color with body plumage edged with yellow. The adult male has a short crest crowing the top of its head, long, black beak and pinkish-red eye rings. Much of the diet comprises tree-boring beetles, fruits and seeds of native trees. Like other cockatoos, this species is long-lived. The Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Yellow-throated Warbler

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The Yellow-throated Warbler (Setophaga dominica) is a small woodland songbird species that nests and forages for insects and spiders high in the canopy of pine forests. These migratory birds breed in temperate North America, wintering on the Gulf Coast, Cuba, and the Caribbean.

Some distinguishable features of these fascinating birds include: Yellow throat and chest; head has characteristic black and white pattern; gray back and wings; white eye stripes and ear patch; white belly with black on the flanks; and long black bill. Adult male measures 13 – 14 cm long with 8.5-inch wingspan, and weighs 9 – 11 g. Its diet consists mainly of caterpillars, insects, and spiders. IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern.


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The Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) is a passerine bird that prefers open areas, hedgerows, and agricultural farms as habitat. The species breed across Europe and much of Asia. Females built cup-shaped nests on the ground with grasses, hedgerows, or shrubs. Due to its declining population, the Yellowhammer is on the Red List species.

This fascinating bird averages to about 15.5–17 cm long, a 23-29 cm (9-11″) wing, and weighs 24-30 g (¾-1 oz.) It has a characteristic thick seed-eater’s bill, brown back lined with black, yellow head and belly, and a chestnut rump. The species feeds mainly on insects and seeds.

Yellow-legged Gull

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The Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) is any of two species of large migratory gulls widespread in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. These fascinating birds prefer coastal marshes, lakes, reservoir and fields as habitat. Depending on the species, they measure to about 52 to 68 cm (20 to 27 in) tall, 120 to 155 cm (47 to 61 in) in wingspan, and weigh around 550 to 1,600 g (1.2 to 3.5 lbs.) Adults have a gray back, and yellow bill marked with a large red spot. Eyes are black with red rings, and pinkish gray legs. Yellow-legged Gulls are known omnivores and feed mostly on carcasses

Yellow-legged Thrush

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The Yellow-legged Thrush (Turdus flavipes) is a songbird whose range covers northern and eastern South America. The species are found in rainforest, woodlands, and agricultural lands. This thrush forage tree, bushes and at times on the ground feeding mostly on fruits and berries. This shy species of thrush built nests of twigs on rocks and on banks using twigs.

The Yellow-legged Thrush is mostly black in color with eye-ring and legs. Males have yellow bills while females have a duller bills. Adults measure 22–23 cm (8.7–9.1 in) long and weighs 55–70 g (1.9–2.5 Oz). The species is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.


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The Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) are small songbird found in Mexico, North America and Central America. The breeding habitats of these migratory birds include dense shrubs, marshes and thickets. They are solitary or may be found in pairs.

Common Yellowthroats have olive backs, wings and tails, white bellies, yellow breasts and throats, and a slim, pointed, black bills. Adult males have black face masks of uneven extent, which are bordered above with white or gray. They can reach 5 inches in length and with a wingspan of about 7-8-inch. They feed mostly on insects.

Check out the entire Animal Alphabet list here:
Amazing Animal Alphabet Series 1
Amazing Animal Alphabet Series 2

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Five Unique Birds’ Living Fossils

The term “living fossil” is used to denote any living species of organism, which through fossils were identified to be the same as a species before extant representatives were discovered; and has no close living relatives. In short words, living fossil is a unique species that apparently hasn’t undergone changes during its very long existence.


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The Mousebirds or Colies are a small group of birds comprising six species belonging to one genius Colius. The six surviving species could be considered “living fossils” as evidence showed that their family’s (Coliidae) root traces back to the Early Eocene period. This group is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Their usual habitat includes; forests, savannas, and open brush lands. They are arboreal and eat leaves, flowers, fruit, buds and sometimes insects.

Mousebirds are small, slender birds, growing to about 30-34 cm long and weigh 45-55 gm. They have stubby, bills, curved claws, soft grayish or brown plumage with a long, thin, tail about 20-24 cm long. With the ability to direct all four toes forward, mousebirds are versatile acrobats. Currently, mousebirds are not listed on the ICBP endangered list.

Bearded reedling

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The Bearded Reedling,(Panurus biarmicus), is a weird small wetland bird found in Asia and temperate Europe. Often known as the Bearded Tit, or Bearded Parrotbill, the Bearded Reedling has orange-brown plumage with long tail; about 16.5 cm in length and weighs about 14 grams. Males have grey head and sport black moustaches. Females are duller in color in shades of tan and rust. Both males and females have yellow eyes and beaks. These passerine birds feed on insects in the summer and seeds during the winter. Though not yet on the endangered list, habitat destruction is threatening the species.

New Zealand wrens

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New Zealand wrens, are small passerine birds comprising the family Acanthisittidae endemic to New Zealand. There are six known species, but only two are still extant today. These two living species are: the Rifleman (Acanthisitta chloris), which are fairly common in North and South Island; while the South Island Wren (Xenicus gilviventris), whose numbers are decreasing are confined to the alpine areas of South. Both the surviving species are diurnal, non-migratory and are poor fliers.

These small birds average 7 cm to 10 cm long and weigh between 14-22g. They have short wings, pointed bill and sturdy legs. Typical Acanthisittidae plumage colors include greens, browns, and whites. The New Zealand wrens feed on a snag, and small arthropods. Neither species are included in the 2000 IUCN Red


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The Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), also known as the Canje “Pheasant”, is the only extant species in the Opisthocomidae family. Based on fossil records, the species have lived during the Miocene period. This pheasant-sized bird lives in swamps of South America. A slender bird, the hoatzin has a small head, red crest and eyes, large wings and long black tail. Adults average between 61-66 cm long and weigh about 816 grams. Hoatzins only eat plants, flowers, and fruits. These unique and odd birds are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

Magpie Goose

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The Magpie Goose (Anseranas semipalmata) is a waterbird species found in coastal northern Australia and savannah in southern New Guinea. It is a unique member of the order Anseriformes, and arranged in a family and genus distinct from all other living waterfowl. The Magpie Goose is a resident breeder in northern Australia and in southern New Guinea.The Magpie Goose is found in a variety of open wetland areas such as floodplains and swamps.

Magpie Geese are unmistakable birds with their black and white plumage and yellowish legs. The feet are only partially webbed, although the Magpie Goose will feed on vegetable matter in the water as well as on land. Males are larger than females. Unlike true geese, the moult is gradual, and there is no flightless period. The voice is a loud honking.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Big Birds Part 3

A list of the largest birds in their respective order.

There are more than 10,000 species of birds found all over the globe. They range in sizes, colors, and habitat. But do you know what is the largest in each bird ‘s order? This concise article answers your question.

Parrots (Psittaciformes)

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The endangered Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus), is the longest and largest overall parrot. A typical length for the Hyacinth Macaw is 1.2 m (4 ft) long and a weight of 2 kg (4.4 lb). However, the heaviest parrot is the nearly-extinct Kakapo (Strigops habroptila), which can weigh over 4 kg (8.8 lb) and about 60 cm (2 ft) long.

Sandgrouse (Pterocliformes)

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The largest species of sand grouse is the Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis), that can grow to about 15 in (39 cm) and can weigh up to 14.1–19.4 oz (400–550 g).

Penguins (Sphenisciformes)

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The Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), native to Antarctica is the largest and tallest of all extant penguin species. They stand almost 1.35 m (4.3 ft) tall and weigh 746 kg (102 lb). 0 to 90 lbs. (30 to 40 kg.). Emperor penguins can mate when they are 4 years old and can live to be 20 years of age.

Owls (Strigiformes)

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The Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) is a large and powerful bird, and alongside the Blakiston’s Fish Owl (Bubo blakistoni) are considered the largest species of owls. It can measure up to 80 cm (32 in) long, can weigh about 4.5 kg (10 lb) and a wingspan of up to 138-200 cm (55-79 in). The largest owl known to have existed was Ornimegalonyx oteroi of Cuba, having measured over 1 m (3.3 ft) tall.

Trogons (Trogoniformes)

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The Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), is a spectacular bird of the trogon family. This species is 36 cm (14 in) long, with around 64 cm (25 in) of remarkable tail for male and weighs about 7 to 8 oz (200 to 225 g).

Waterfowl (Anseriformes)

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The Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator),is the largest species in this order. This bird can grow up to 1.82 m (6 ft), with a 3 m (10 ft) wingspan and a weight of 17.3 kg (38 lb). However, the heaviest waterfowl ever recorded was an overweight Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) from Poland, who weighed nearly 23 kg (50 lb).

Swifts & allies (Apodiformes)

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The White-naped Swift (Streptoprocne semicollaris) is the largest species of the swift family in the New World. This bird found in western and central Mexico, can reach 20.5-25 cm (8.2-10 inches) long and can weigh up to 225 g (8 oz). The hummingbirds are also traditionally included in this order, the largest species of which is easily the Giant Hummingbird (Patagona gigas).

Nightjars & allies (Caprimulgiformes)

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The largest species of this order is the Great Potoo (Nycitbius grandis),which occurs in tropical America is the largest species of this order. It can attain a maximum size of 48-60 cm (19-24 inches) long and 360-650 grams (12.7 oz-1.4 lb).

Ratites (Struthioniformes)

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The ostrich (Struthio camelus) is largest species of the Struthioniformes, as well as the largest living bird today. It can reach a height of over 2.7 m (9 ft) and weighing over 156 kg (345 lb). It hold the record’s for the fastest land bird where it has the ability to run at speeds maximum of about 104 km/h (76 mph). Eggs laid by the Ostrich can weigh 1.4 kg (3 lb) and are the largest eggs in the world today.

Check Out:
The Big Birds
The Big Birds Part 2

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cats and Dogs Day Out

10 cute pictures of dogs and cats that will freshen your morning.

Another compilation of cute pictures of cats and dogs, doing what they know best… Make us happy!

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Golden Puppy: I can’t believe what I’m seeing? My Dad is in bed with another woman!

Kitten 1: Hi..hi..hi.., aren’t they a sweet couple?

Kitten 2: I hate them!

Duck: Thank God, I’m a rubber toy.

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Dog: I’m done, my kid knows my secret.

Cat: Just go to sleep, Sweet Baby James…

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Cat: Ha, ha, ha,… hope Big Mamma Cat won’t fart.

Golden Dog: Don’t you worry, Old Black Dog is not the sniff-type breed.

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Dog: Stop fooling around, buddy.

Cat:Okay, all I need a soft cushion to lay my tired body.

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Golden Dog: Good morning, Sunshine… Look, my wisdom tooth had popped up.

Cat: Gee, wisdom tooth? … What are you, human?

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Mother Cat: Yak! this isn’t our baby?

Father Cat: Relax… she’s just inspecting some odd wisdom tooth.

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Cat: Gosh… the sun is high-up and yet those two lazy babies below are cold dead.

Dog: My…Oh…my… our masters will surely get hot under the collar.

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Cat and Dog: No cause of alarm, brothers. We’re just out from our graveyard shift.

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Dog: Why are we confined to this cell?

Cat: It ain’t no cell…we’re on a cardboard box.

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Cat: Those guys are up to something.

Dog: Stay put partner. If ever they move a little closer, we will tear their bodies apart.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

10 Fascinating Birds That Start with The Letter W

They may not be as colorful as the turacos, lovable as the talking-parrots or as agile as the fierce raptors — but these birds are indeed fascinating! Read on and learn more about them.

This is the penultimate post to a 25-part of the highly-commendable and widely read the ‘Alphabet Animal’ series. Presenting – the fascinating birds that start with the letter V. Read on and learn more interesting facts about them.


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The Waxwing (Bombycillidae) are any of three species of passerine birds found in North America and in eastern Asia. The Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) and Cedar Waxwing (B. cedrorum) are the two North American species and the third species is the Japanese Waxwing (B. japonica). All three species have mainly soft silky brown plumage characterized by unique red tips in some parts of the wing feathers.

These fascinating birds prefer woodlands and open areas. The eyes are marked with a black line. The bill, throat, short legs and feet are dark. Waxwings have pointed crest and square-ended tail with a red or yellow tip. These are arboreal birds known for their high-pitched calls feed mainly on berries and occasionally eat insects.


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Wattlebirds (Anthochaera) or Warty-faced Honey-eater, are any of three birds of the Honeyeater, endemic to native to Australia. The species characterized by their brightly colored wattles include the Yellow Wattlebird, the Red Wattlebird, the Little Wattlebird, and the Western Wattlebird. The large wattles (about half an inch long) hang down below each ear. The species may come with brown, gray or white plumage.


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The Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) is a fairly large wader with distinctive long down-curved bills. A migratory species distributed worldwide, these waders breed across much of North America, Africa, Europe and Asia. On average, adult wattlebirds measure 37–47 cm (15–19 in) and weigh about 270–493 g (9.5–17.4 oz). The species is characterized by grayish-brown plumage with white back and rump, striped head with dark crown, a long curved bill and long legs. Whimbrels feeds by probing soft mud for burrowing crabs. It also eats fish, insects, worms, and small aquatic invertebrates.

White-eyed Vireo

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The White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus) is a small songbird widespread in shrubby areas of southeastern USA. The species forage methodically among leaves gleaning insects as it moves. This fascinating bird is more known for its explosive song than its looks. Generally, white-eyed vireo measures 13 – 15 cm long. Its head and back sports grayish-olive feathers. The underbody has white plumage laced with yellow flanks. Eyes have white irises encircled with yellow spectacles. Tail and wings are dark (each wing sporting white wing bar.) During the summer season, white-eyed vireos feed mostly on insects but will also eat berries, snails, and small lizards.


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The Wigeon is any of three species of medium-sized duck in the genus Anas. The species flock in great number and breed on wet grasslands, open moor, lakes, and occasionally on coastal marshes. All three species have round heads and short bill. Breeding drakes (males) have chestnut-colored heads, pink chests, white bellies, gray backs and predominantly black tails. Wigeons generally measure 48 cm in length with an 80 cm wingspan and about 800 g in weight. It feeds mostly on leaves, shoots, and some seeds. This fascinating bird is well-known for its ‘wheeooo’ whistling call.

Wood Stork

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The Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) is a wading bird native to North America and the only stork that breeds in the United States. A large wetland bird , it inhabits marshes, swamps, streams, coastal areas and ponds in the southern United States. The species is also a breeding bird in South America in particular Argentina. Adult males measure 83–115 cm (33–45 in) tall with a 140–180 cm (58–71 in) wingspan and weigh around 2.5–3.3 kg (5.5-7.3 lbs). Typically, wood stork sports all-white plumage with blackish-gray skinny legs and pink feet. It has black, bald head and a thick, down-curved bill. Its diet includes: small fish, snails, tadpoles, insects, and aquatic invertebrates.


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The Willet (Tringa semipalmata)is a large, stocky shorebird characterized by its long gray legs and straight bill. The species breeds from central Canada to northeastern California and winters along the Atlantic Coast. It prefers freshwater and salt marshes, coastal beaches, and wet prairies. Willet has drab plumage with white and black pattern running across each wing. The underparts are lighter in color and the tail is white laced with a dark band at the tip. Adult males measure about 13-15 inches in length. This fascinating bird feeds on small crabs, marine worms, fish, and aquatic insects.


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The Woodcock is any of eight species of wading birds in the genus Scolopax. Only two species namely: the Eurasian Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) and the American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) are widespread, the others including the Philippine Woodcock (Scolopax bukidnonensis) are local island endemics. The species prefers moist woodlands. Another fascinating bird, it is generally blackish/brown in color with long slender bill. Its large eyes is well-positioned on the sides of its head. Adult males can measure up to 10 to 11 inches long and weigh 4 to 7 ounces. This bird feeds mainly on earthworms, insect larva, grubs and other invertebrates.


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The Wrens are any of the 80 extant species of passerine birds in the family Troglodytidae. Depending on the species, wrens inhabit a wide range of habitats – from dry, wooded areas, rocky coasts, rainforest, and cultivated land. It is easily recognized by its generally drab plumage; small, round body and its distinctive small tail. Depending on the species, wrens measure 10 cm or less (3.9 in) – 22 cm (8.7 in) and weigh from 9 grams (0.32 oz) – 50 grams (1.8 oz). Most species feed on insects, spiders, larvae and occasionally seeds and fruits.


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The Wrynecks (genus Jynx) are small sparrow-sized bird comprising the genus Jynx. These Old World woodpeckers have two extant species; the Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla) and the Rufous-necked Wryneck (Jynx ruficollis). It is widespread in most of Europe and parts of central Asia. The species prominent features include a large head, long, sticky tongue, and short, dagger-like bills.

Both species sport cryptic plumage with flashes of gray and brown patterns. On average, males measure long with a 26 cm wingspan and up to 38 grams in weight. Wrynecks feed mostly on ants, but also eat other small insects. This fascinating bird has the ability to twist its neck up to 180 degrees.

Check out the entire Animal Alphabet list here:
Amazing Animal Alphabet Series 1
Amazing Animal Alphabet Series 2