What has two wings, two legs, a beak or bill, and feathers? Of course, the answer is a bird. But, there are nearly 10,000 different kinds of birds, and they come in all sizes. The smallest is the hummingbird and the largest is the ostrich.
Birds can be grouped by the places they live, by what they eat, or by the shape of their feet, beaks, or wings. Birds can be found nearly everywhere in the world. There are land birds, water birds, arctic birds, and tropical birds. Some birds eat only insects, others just fruit and seeds. There are also birds whose diet consists of meat and fish.
There are several characteristics birds have in common, though, regardless of where they live or what they eat. All birds have feathers, which help them in many different ways. They help them with flight, may be used to carry water to the young, or they may be used for warmth.
All birds have two legs and two wings; however, there are a few birds that cannot fly including the penguin and ostrich. Wings, of course, give most birds the ability to fly. Some bird species will spread out their wings and expose them to the Sun to help reduce feather damage.
Most of a bird's body is made of feathers and hollow bones. They do not weigh very much, which help them fly using their wings. In addition, they also have very strong muscles which allow them to fly for long periods of time.
Finally, birds fly differently depending on their wing type. Some birds can soar through the sky, others must always flap their wings, some wings are helpful for diving as they propel themselves while diving under water. A few birds can fly staying in one place, hovering like a helicopter.
All birds have a beak or a bill, which does not include teeth. Most birds raise their head and use their beaks to allow water to run down their throat. Other uses for a bird's beak depends on the bird. The beak is adapted for different uses such as for eating grains, skimming the surface of water, scavenging, eating fruits, or feeding from the nectar of flowers.
All birds also lay hard-shelled eggs. They produce offspring by laying their eggs which are then fertilized by a male bird. Most birds lay their eggs in nests where they are taken care of by the parents. Some birds, such as hens, lay eggs even if they are not fertilized. The eggs, though, will not produce any offspring. Instead of laying the egg in a nest, male emperor penguins keep their eggs between their body and feet.
Finally, all birds are warm-blooded, and have backbones, just like mammals. Being warm-blooded means the birds can control their body temperature.
In summary, birds can be grouped by the places they live, by what they eat, or by the shape of their feet, beaks, or wings. Birds can be found nearly everywhere in the world.
There are many interesting facts about the different birds found all over the world. The birds that do not fly include the ostrich, emu, and penguin. Many birds migrate or fly south to escape cold winters. Birds use their feathers to help them fly; protect themselves from different types of weather; to swim, dive, and float; for feeling; keeping clean; and much more.
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