Portal:Birds

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The birds portal

Pardalotus with nesting material.jpg
A striated pardalote (Pardalotus striatus) collecting nesting material in its beak.
Welcome to the Birds Portal! Birds (class Aves) are bipedal, warm-blooded, oviparous vertebrate animals. Most scientists believe that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs. Ranging in size from tiny hummingbirds to the huge ostrich and emu, there are between 9,000 and 10,000 known living bird species in the world, making Aves the most diverse class of terrestrial vertebrate.

A bird is characterized by feathers, a toothless beak, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a light but strong skeleton. All birds have forelimbs modified as wings and most can fly.

Birds are important sources of food, acquired either through farming or hunting. Numerous species of birds are also used commercially, and some species, particularly songbirds and parrots, are popular pets. Birds figure prominently in all aspects of human culture from religion to poetry and popular music. Numerous species of birds are threatened with extinction by human activities and as a result efforts are underway to protect them.


Selected article

Short-tailed albatross (Phoebastria albatrus)
Albatrosses, of the biological family Diomedeidae, are large seabirds allied to the procellariids, storm-petrels and diving-petrels in the order Procellariiformes (the tubenoses). They range widely in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific. They are absent from the North Atlantic, although fossil remains show they once occurred there too and occasional vagrants turn up. Albatrosses are amongst the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses (genus Diomedea) have the largest wingspans of any extant birds. The albatrosses are usually regarded as falling into four genera, but there is disagreement over the number of species.

Albatrosses are highly efficient in the air, using dynamic soaring and slope soaring to cover great distances with little exertion. They feed on squid, fish and krill by either scavenging, surface seizing or diving. Albatrosses are colonial, nesting for the most part on remote oceanic islands, often with several species nesting together. Pair bonds between males and females form over several years, with the use of ritualised dances, and will last for the life of the pair. A breeding season can take over a year from laying to fledging, with a single egg laid in each breeding attempt.

Of the 21 species of albatrosses recognised by the IUCN, 19 are threatened with extinction. Numbers of albatrosses have declined in the past due to harvesting for feathers, but today the albatrosses are threatened by introduced species such as rats and feral cats that attack eggs, chicks and nesting adults; by pollution; by a serious decline in fish stocks in many regions largely due to overfishing; and by long-line fishing. Long-line fisheries pose the greatest threat, as feeding birds are attracted to the bait and become hooked on the lines and drown. Governments, conservation organisations and fishers are all working towards reducing this by-catch.


Selected picture

Hooded pitta
Credit: Jason Thompson

Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida), Sri Phang Nga National Park, Phang Nga, Thailand.

Gallery


Topics

Anatomy:   Anatomy • Skeleton • Flight • Eggs • Feathers • Plumage

Evolution and extinction:   Evolution • Archaeopteryx • Hybridisation • Late Quaternary prehistoric birds • Fossils • Taxonomy • Extinction

Behaviour:   Singing • Intelligence • Migration • Reproduction • Nesting • Incubation • Brood parasites

Bird orders:   Struthioniformes • Tinamiformes • Anseriformes • Accipitriformes • Galliformes • Gaviiformes • Podicipediformes • Procellariiformes • Sphenisciformes • Pelecaniformes • Ciconiiformes • Phoenicopteriformes • Falconiformes • Gruiformes • Charadriiformes • Pteroclidiformes • Columbiformes • Psittaciformes • Cuculiformes • Strigiformes • Caprimulgiformes • Apodiformes • Coraciiformes • Piciformes • Trogoniformes • Coliiformes • Passeriformes

Bird lists:   Families and orders • Lists by region

Birds and humans:   Ringing • Ornithology • Bird collections • Birdwatching • Birdfeeding • Conservation • Aviculture

Quotes

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Resources

Free online resources:

  • SORA: The Searchable Online Research Archive (SORA) has decades worth of archives of the following journals: The Auk, The Condor, Journal of Field Ornithology, North American Bird Bander, Studies in Avian Biology, Pacific Coast Avifauna, and The Wilson Bulletin. Coverage ends around 2000. The ability to search all journals or browse exists on the front page.
  • Notornis: The Journal of the Ornithological Society of New Zealand covers New Zealand and the South Pacific.
  • New Zealand Journal of Ecology: This journal often publishes bird-related articles. Like Notornis, this journal is concerned with New Zealand and surrounding areas.
  • Marine Ornithology: Published by the numerous seabird research groups, Marine Ornithology is specific and goes back many years.
  • BirdLife International: The Data Zone has species accounts for every species, although threatened species and some key groups have greater detail with others only having status and evaluation.
  • Author Index: This is a good source for binomial authorities for taxoboxes.

There is also Birds of North America, Cornell University's massive project collecting information on every breeding bird in the ABA area. It is available for US$40 a year.

For more sources, including printed sources, see WikiProject Birds.


Selected species

Kakapo drawing
The kakapo (Māori: kākāpō, meaning "night parrot", Strigops habroptilus), also called owl parrot, is a species of nocturnal parrot with finely blotched yellow-green plumage endemic to New Zealand. It has a distinct facial disc of sensory, vibrissa-like feathers, a large grey beak, short legs, large feet, and wings and a tail of relatively short length. A certain combination of traits makes it unique among its kind—it is the world's only flightless parrot, the heaviest parrot, nocturnal, herbivorous, it sports visible sexual dimorphism in body size, has a low basal metabolic rate, no male parental care, and is the only parrot to have a polygynous lek breeding system. It is also possibly one of the world's longest-living birds. Its anatomy typifies the tendency of bird evolution on oceanic islands with few predators and abundant food: accretion of thermodynamic efficiency at the expense of flight abilities, reduced wing muscles, a diminished keel on the sternum and a generally robust physique. Kakapo are critically endangered; only 154[1] living individuals are known, all of which have been given names. The ancestral kakapo migrated to the islands of New Zealand in prehistory; in the absence of mammalian predators, it lost the ability to fly. Because of Polynesian and European colonisation and the introduction of predators such as cats, rats, and stoats, most of the kakapo were wiped out. Conservation efforts began in the 1890s, but they were not very successful until the implementation of the Kakapo Recovery Plan in the 1980s. As of November 2005, surviving kakapo are kept on four predator-free islands, Maud, Chalky (Te Kakahu), Codfish (Whenua Hou) and Anchor islands, where they are closely monitored. Two large Fiordland islands, Resolution and Secretary, have been the subject of large-scale ecological restoration activities to prepare self-sustaining ecosystems with suitable habitat for the kakapo. The conservation of the kakapo has made the species well known. Many books and documentaries detailing the plight of the kakapo have been produced in recent years. The kakapo, like many other bird species, has historically been important to the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, appearing in many of the traditional legends and folklore.


Did you know

*...that the hood mockingbird will occasionally attack people in an attempt to get fresh water from them? *...that prior to the development of binoculars, bird collections, collections consisting of birds and parts of their anatomy, were the dominant method of bird observation and study among ornithologists? *...that bird nests range in size from the tiny one inch high cup of some hummingbirds to the massive five meter high mounds of some dusky scrubfowl?

Categories

WikiProjects

Related portals

Collaboration of the month

Eagle 01.svg The current Bird Collaboration of the Month is Tinamou.

Every month a different bird-related topic, article, stub or non-existent article is picked. Please improve the article any way you can.

Things you can do

Create requested articles (WikiProject Birds – Article requests):

Do these tasks:


Here are some tasks awaiting attention:

More outstanding tasks at the cleanup listing on Labs, Category:Birds articles needing attention, and Wikipedia:WikiProject Birds#Tasklist.

Taxonomy of Aves

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  1. ^ "Critically endangered kakapo on the increase". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2016-12-22. 
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