Birds are a unique group of animals with an incredible ability to fly. They are unique from all other animals because they have wings and feathers. Birds are in fact descendants of dinosaurs and formal collective name for birds is ‘Aves’.
The vast majority of bird species have the ability to fly, a skill made possible through the evolution of wings, feathers and a number of other adaptations. A number of birds however, such as penguins and ostriches, have lost the ability to fly due to evolving in an environment where flying wasn’t necessary.
Birds are found all around the world, in almost any habitat, from the emperor penguins in the Antarctic to species found in some of the world’s hottest deserts. Some bird species spend their entire life in one small area while others migrate tens of thousands of miles every year.
Their color, behavior and diversity is spectacular and it is difficult to find a more impressive sight than a bird gliding effortlessly on the wind.
A feather is a growth from the skin, much like a hair, and forms the plumage of a bird. It is an integral part of a bird’s biology. Feathers have evolved over millions of years to help with tasks such as flying and keeping warm.
For most people, flying is the activity that distinguishes birds from the plethora of animals on Earth. Birds are in fact one of three groups of animals that have evolved to take advantage of the 3-dimensional space of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Birds have a unique physiology that is often closely linked to the energetic demands of flying. As flying uses a lot of energy, they have high metabolisms, high body temperatures and an incredibly efficient respiratory system during flight.
Every year, hundreds of bird species all around the world complete migrations over both modest and magnificent distances. Over 10 billion birds travel between Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America and the South Pacific each year.