Some Interesting Bird Facts

  • Most birds live an intensely active life. This is shown in their high body temperatures, sometimes reaching 46oC, and in the rapid beating of their hearts. This heartbeat is sometimes 120 beats per minute when the bird is at rest, and much higher when the bird is in flight.
  • In comparison to other animals, birds need to be very light in order to fly. Therefore, they carry no extra weight at all on their bodies, most of their weight being concentrated on their flight muscles. Depending upon species, the muscles are quite heavy. In many birds the flight muscles are a sixth of the whole body weight, and with a pigeon, half.
  • Another interesting fact about birds’ alimentary system is that in some, such as the wild starling, the digestive tract can change in length with the seasons, becoming longer in the winter when the diet changes from mainly insects to mainly seeds.


Birds can be classified lots of different ways according to size, behaviour, appearance, habitat, or any number of other characteristics.

Birds are animals that belong to a class which has the scientific name “AVES”

The Class Aves (birds) is further divided into sub-groups called “superorders” and those superorders are divided into groups called “orders”

There are two superorders of birds.

The Paleognathae superorder include birds that do not fly, but live primarily on land (Ostrich, Emu, Kiwi, Rhea, Tinamou).

The Neognathae superorder include all of the remaining living birds. Most of these birds fly. The only ones that do not fly are penguins, but unlike other flightless birds, penguins do have highly functional wings. Instead of using their wings to fly through air, a penguin will use its wings to fly through water.

  • One of the more curious features of these tube nosed birds is that they store a form of oil in their stomachs, which acts as a food reserve. This oil sustains the bird when there are few fish. The oil serves another purpose too: if disturbed, an albatross can regurgitate this oil and spray it over an intruder. This yellowish liquid has a strong, unpleasant odour.

  • Owls occur on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Owls have a sense of sight adapted to finding prey with an accuracy that allows one swoop to stand a very high chance of success.
  • Owls have four toes, each armed with a long hooked talon.

  • Kingfishers are able to see well both in air and under water. Their eyes have evolved an egg-shaped lens which allows them to focus in both of these environments.
  • All Kingfishers kill their prey through beating, for example, by whipping prey against a tree or dropping on a stone.

If you want to learn more on birds, you can study our in-depth distance learning course on Ornithology.

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