Birds are vertebrates with a backbone and a skeleton – some of their bones are hollow to help keep them light.

They are endothermic (a warm blooded animal that is able to maintain its body temperature at a relatively constant level regardless of the outside temperature).

Peacock

They are the only animals that have feathers – the feathers are made of keratin which is the same substance that human hair and nails are made from. Feathers are unique to birds. The feathers serve many functions in birds, but the most obvious role is to enable birds to fly. Feathers also help to protect the birds from the elements. Feathers are able to provide birds with insulation and waterproofing as well as helping to block the UV rays from reaching the birds skin.
Birds do not have teeth. Instead they have bills that are made from keratin the same substance that hair and fingernails are made from. The bills come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are adapted to be suitable for the diet of the species.

All birds lay eggs that have hard, waterproof shells that they create nests for. Birds incubate their eggs until they are ready to hatch. The parents continue to care for the young and bring food to the nest sites for the chicks.

Some species of birds have chicks that are already covered in down like chickens that are able to start finding their own food – they are called precocial. Other chicks like robins hatch with no feathers and they are helpless and depend on their parents to feed them. They are called altricial.
There are more than 9,800 species of birds. The smallest is the male bee hummingbird which is 5.7cms (2.25 inches) long and weighs only 1.6 grams (0.056 ounces). The largest is the ostrich which can weigh up to 155kgs (340 pounds).

Many birds follow seasonal migrations between their breeding and winter grounds. Many of the species of birds migrate to higher latitudes to breed during the summer and the spring. During autumn and the winter months they will then migrate to areas of lower latitude.

Not all birds are able to fly and not all animals that are capable of flight are birds. For example bats, which are mammals are able to fly, and insects which are arthropods were flying around several millions years before birds took to the sky.

The largest bird of all is the ostrich. Ostriches are not able to fly and they have a large body, small head, long legs and a long neck. Even though they can’t fly they are great runners who can run at speeds of up to 72 km/h (45 mph) for about half an hour. Adult ostriches weigh between 100 kg to 160kg (220 to 350 pounds) and measure between 237 cm to 282 cm (7 to 9 ¼ feet).

Birds that can not fly are know as ratities.

African Grey Parrot

African Grey Parrot

Meet the incredibly intelligent African grey parrot. One of these birds known as Alex has learnt 50 words. This has made these birds popular as pets the world over.
African penguin

African penguin

Meet the African penguin which is otherwise known as the cape penguin, black footed penguin or the jackass penguin which comes from the sound which they made.
Andean Condor

Andean Condor

Meet the Andean condor. These impressive animals serve as the national bird for Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile and Colombia.
Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffin

Meet the Atlantic puffin a colourful bird from the top of the world which has been nicknamed the "clown of the sea" and the "sea parrot."
Australian Pelican

Australian Pelican

Meet the Australian pelican their pink bill is the largest possessed by any bird on the planet.
Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Meet America's national bird the bald eagle. These bird's are America's second largest species after the California condor.
Bali Myna

Bali Myna

Scientific Name Leucopsar rothschildi Conservation Status Critically Endangered Appearance Bali Myna’s have a coat of white feathers covering most their body. The wing and tail tips have black feather’s. Around the eyes and the legs are bar...
Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Meet the barn owl a bird which is so good at hunting rodents that they can hunt more than poisoning can get rid of at one time.
Black Necked Stork (Jabiru)

Black Necked Stork (Jabiru)

Meet the black necked stork which is commonly referred to as the jabiru even though that is in fact a bird from the Americas.
Blue Peafowl

Blue Peafowl

Meet the blue peafowl. These birds are known the world over as a result of the males impressive tails and have been sought out for years as a sign of wealth.
California Condor

California Condor

Meet the California condor a bird whose numbers have rebounded to 230 following there being just 14 on earth at one time.
Double Wattled Cassowary

Double Wattled Cassowary

Meet the double wattled cassowary a bird which has been verified by Guinness World Records as the world's most dangerous bird.
Eclectus Parrot

Eclectus Parrot

Scientific Name Eclectus roratus                          Conservation Status Least Concern Appearance The eclectus parrot exhibits major differences between males and females. Males are a bright green colour with blue primary feathers a...
Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

Meet the Egyptian Goose a bird which was seen as sacred by the Ancient Egyptians and regularly featured in their artworks.
Emperor penguin

Emperor penguin

Meet the emperor penguin, the largest and deepest diving of the world's penguin species. They are also the only penguin species which breeds during winter.
Emu

Emu

Meet the emu a bird so strong that they have been known to tear down fences with their feet. They are also incredibly fast capable of reaching speeds of up 48km/h (30mph).
Flamingo

Flamingo

Meet the flamingo a bird which is known for its pink colour which comes from the algae which they eat and their one legged stance.
Greater Rhea

Greater Rhea

Meet the greater rhea a flightless bird which is the largest bird variety in South America.
Grey crowned crane

Grey crowned crane

Learn more about the grey crowned crane at the Animal Facts. Here you can discover their diet, habitat, lifespan, appearance, breeding and behaviour.
Harpy eagle

Harpy eagle

Meet the harpy eagle, Panama's national bird which is named for a mythological Greek spirit which has the head of a human and the body of an eagle.
Helmeted Guinea fowl

Helmeted Guinea fowl

Meet the helmeted guinea fowl a South African bird which gathers in flocks of 100 birds which are able to mount a group defense against an attacker.
Humboldt Penguin

Humboldt Penguin

Learn more about the Humboldt penguin a the Animal Facts. Here you can discover their diet, appearance, lifespan, habitat, breeding and behaviour.
Kakapo

Kakapo

Learn more about the kakapo at the Animal Facts. Here you can discover their diet, lifespan, habitat, appearance, breeding and behaviour.
Kea

Kea

Meet the kea a bird with such a cheeky personality that they have earned the nickname, 'clown of the mountain.'
King Penguin

King Penguin

Learn more about the king penguin at the Animal Facts. Here you can discover their diet, lifespan, habitat, appearance, breeding and behaviour.

King Vulture

Scientific Name Sarcoramphus papa Conservation Status Least Concern Appearance The king vulture features a strikingly coloured neck and head which is coloured shades of orange, yellow and purple. These colours are areas of bare skin, this...
Laughing Kookaburra

Laughing Kookaburra

Meet the laughing kookaburra a bird which is known for its laugh like call which earned it names such as the "bushman's alarm clock" and the laughing jackass.
Little Penguin

Little Penguin

Meet the little penguin the world's smallest penguin species and is also known as the fairy or blue penguins.
Macaw

Macaw

Meet macaws including the blue and gold macaw which blushes when it becomes excited.
Mandarin Duck

Mandarin Duck

Scientific Name Aix galericulata Conservation Status Least Concern Appearance Mandarin ducks have extremely differently males and females. The male is brightly coloured. The beak is red, around the eyes and across the sides of the head is...
Marabou Stork

Marabou Stork

Learn more about the marabou stork at the Animal Facts. Here you can discover their diet, lifespan, appearance, habitat, breeding and behaviour.
North Island Brown Kiwi

North Island Brown Kiwi

Kiwi makes images of something brown and fuzzy come to mind. This is only half true. The kiwi is not a fruit but a bird from Zealand. Scientific Name - Apteryx mantelli Conservation Status - Endangered Appearance The brown kiwi stands 50...
Ostrich

Ostrich

Scientific Name Struthio camelus                Conservation Status Least Concern Appearance The Ostrich is the world’s largest bird. Males stand 2.1-2.8m (6ft 11in-9ft 2in) tall with females being slightly shorter at 1.7-2m (5ft 7in-6ft 7i...
Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

Scientific Name Falco peregrinus                         Conservation Status Least Concern Appearance The wings of the peregrine falcon are blue-gray to slate-gray with black tips. Their back is brown while their white underside is barred w...
Quaker Parrot (Monk parrot)

Quaker Parrot (Monk parrot)

Scientific Name - Myiopsitta monachus Conservation Status - Least Concern Appearance Weighing about 100 grams these parrots measure 29cms on average. The back is bright green with a pair of electric blue feathers at the bottom of the body above...
Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet

Scientific Name : Trichoglossus haematodus Conservation Status: Not Listed Appearance The rainbow lorikeet is between 25-30cm from head to the tip of it's tail. Its wing span is 17cm and they weigh between 75 and 157 g. They have very bright...
Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Scientific name : Buteo jamaicensis Conservation status : Least concern Appearance The plumage of the red-tailed hawk varies depending on the subspecies and the region that they come from in North and Central America. Even though the colours...
Scarlet Ibis

Scarlet Ibis

Scientific Name - Eudocimus ruber Conservation Status - Least concern Appearance The scarlet ibis is a bird which is bright red. The adult scarlet ibis measures about 55-63 centimetres. The male is typically slightly larger than the females....
Secretary Bird

Secretary Bird

Scientific Name Sagittarius serpentarius                         Conservation Status Vulnerable Appearance Secretary birds stand on a pair of long, pink, scaly legs. At the end of these are webbed feet that have thick claws at the end. The...
Southern Ground Hornbill

Southern Ground Hornbill

Scientific Name Bucorvus leadbeateri                 Conservation Status Vulnerable Appearance Southern ground hornbills are the largest of the hornbills. They stand 90-100cm (35-59in) tall. Males weigh between 3.5 and 6.1kg (7.7-13.6lb) w...
Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth

Scientific Name                  - Podargus strigoides Conservation Status        - Least Concern Appearance Tawny frogmouths look exactly like a tree branch. They still for the most of the day and by using this camouflage to avoid predators. T...
Thick-Billed Parrot

Thick-Billed Parrot

Scientific Name Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha                             Conservation Status Endangered Appearance Most of the thick-billed parrots body is coloured apple green this helps them to blend in amongst the pine needles where th...
Toco toucan

Toco toucan

Scientific Name - Ramphastos toco Conservation Status - Least Concern Appearance The majority of the toco toucan is coloured black. On the throat there is a patch of white plumage. The eye is a black ball surrounded by a thin patch of skin...
Wedge-tailed eagle

Wedge-tailed eagle

Learn more about the wedge-tailed eagle at the Animal Facts. Here you can discover their diet, appearance, habitat, breeding and behaviour.