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

Red kite (Milvus milvus) in flight, showing remiges and rectrices
The term flight feather refers to any of the long, stiff, asymmetrical feathers on the wing or tail of a bird; those on the wing are called remiges (singular remex) while those on the tail are called rectrices (singular rectrix). Their primary function is to aid in the generation of both thrust and lift, thereby enabling flight. However, the flight feathers of some birds have evolved to perform additional functions, generally associated with territorial displays, courtship rituals or feeding methods. In some species, these feathers have developed into long showy plumes used in visual courtship displays, while in others they create a sound during display flights. Tiny serrations on the leading edge of their remiges help owls to fly silently (and therefore hunt more successfully), while the extra-stiff rectrices of woodpeckers help them to brace against tree trunks as they hammer. Even flightless birds still retain flight feathers, though sometimes in radically modified forms.

The moult of their flight feathers can cause serious problems for birds, as it can impair their ability to fly. Different species have evolved different strategies for coping with this, ranging from dropping all their flight feathers at once (and thus becoming flightless for some relatively short period of time) to extending the moult over a period of several years.


Selected picture

A glossy ibis
Credit: aka and Debivort

The glossy ibis, (Plegadis falcinellus) is a wading bird in the ibis family, Threskiornithidae. It is the most widespread ibis species, breeding in scattered sites in warm regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Atlantic and Caribbean region of the Americas.

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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

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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

A red-tailed black cockatoo in flight
The red-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii), also known as Banksian- or Bank's black cockatoo, is a large cockatoo native to Australia. It is more common in the drier parts of the continent. Five subspecies are recognised, differing most significantly in beak size. Although the more northerly subspecies are widespread, the two southern subspecies, the forest red-tailed black cockatoo and the south-eastern red-tailed black cockatoo are under threat. Adult red-tailed black cockatoos are around 60 centimetres (24 in) in length and sexually dimorphic. Males are completely black in colour, excepting their prominent red tail bands; the slightly smaller females are brownish-black with yellow barring and spotting and have yellow-orange tail stripes. The species is usually found in eucalyptus woodlands, or along water courses. In the more northerly parts of the country, these cockatoos are commonly seen in large flocks. They are seed eaters and cavity nesters. Of the black cockatoos, the red-tailed black is the most adaptable to aviculture, although black cockatoos are much rarer and much more expensive outside Australia.


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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):

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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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