About Birds

Birds are fascinating and incredibly diverse animals. They are vertebrate animals (they have a backbone) like humans, other mammals, reptiles, and fish, but they also have some unique features. Bird are the only vertebrates with feathers, which are modifications of the skin. Feathers serve a variety of functions, from insulation to flight to ornamentation. Birds also have many adaptations that allow them to fly. Their bills are much lighter weight than our jaws and teeth! They also have a special bone called the furcula (or wishbone) that prevents their muscles from compressing their chest during flight. Bird bones are pneumatized, meaning they are full of spaces for air, which is part of a fascinating respiratory system much more effective at taking in oxygen than our own.

Want to learn more about birds? Visit the Fun Bird Facts page. About Black Phoebes? Head over to the Black Phoebe Natural History page. Curious about how scientists, the Project Phoebe team, study birds? Check out the Studying Wild Birds page.

A few examples of the striking diversity of birds that live on our planet. From left to right then top to bottom: Southern Cassowary, Peacock, King Penguin, Kiwi, Hoatzin, Ostrich, Andean Condor, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Mute Swan, Eagle Owl, Flamingo, Western Gull, Yellow-naped Amazon Parrot, Pied Crow, Greater Roadrunner, Pileated Woodpecker, Pelican, and Victoria Crowned Pigeon. Wikimedia

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