Questions tagged [ornithology]

Questions relating to the study of birds.

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4
votes
1answer
634 views

Are boat-tailed grackles efficient flyers?

The boat-tailed grackle's deep-V tail would seem to cause a great deal of drag or even downward deflection (like an airplane's elevators). How much does this actually affect the bird's flight?
8
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1answer
59k views

What species of eagle pushes their young to teach them flying?

There are many references to eagle pushing their young off the nest to make them know how to fly, for example this motivational video. It is also described in this website: Let me show you "the ...
4
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1answer
135 views

Does a bird know it's different? [closed]

I live in Northern Virginia, USA. As I am sitting here there is a large flock of small (blackish) birds in a tree. They are quite prevalent here. For the sake of brevity I will call these birds "...
5
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1answer
657 views

Is sexual selection evolutionarily advantageous?

Our biology teacher says that peacocks will soon become extinct because of bigger and bigger (and heavier and heavier) tails. Why natural selection did not eliminate sexual selection?
1
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2answers
492 views

Bird identification [closed]

I got a statuette of a bird, carved of semi-precious minerals, but with its tail broken off. I'd like to restore it, rebuild the tail, but I'd first need to know how it should look like. Can you help ...
8
votes
1answer
326 views

How did birds survive the KT impact? [closed]

As I understand it, the ejecta resulting from the K-T impact (also known as the end-Cretaceous or Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event) re-entered the atmosphere all over the world; the heat from ...
3
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2answers
488 views

Why are there no marine birds?

Walking by the lake and watching the ducks the other day a thought struck me; there are lots of aquatic birds but all remain at least somewhat terrestrial, nesting on land. Why is it that no birds ...
7
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1answer
426 views

When birds fly in V-formation, how is it decided which bird gets to be the 'lead bird'?

I've read on Wikipedia and in other sources that the lead position alternates due to flight fatigue, but does it alternate between a small cabal of of leadership birds, or does (almost) every bird get ...
6
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1answer
142 views

A website for identifying birds

I am not sure if this is the right place to ask this question, but I guess that ornithology enthusiasts (or ornithologists) will have the best knowledge about it. I am wondering if there is a website ...
1
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0answers
48 views

Insects or Birds covering least distance but most wing moves

I was in search in of list or detail about Insects and Birds which move their wings most but cover least distance. I know that in insects house fly moves its wings about 200/sec and covers 5mph (...
6
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1answer
5k views

For how long can a raven stay airborne (a week or more)?

I'm wondering for how long a raven can stay continuously airborne, if strained to do so? If it makes a difference, I'm mostly interested in the Common raven, Corvus corax. Are there for instance any ...
3
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0answers
247 views

Niche differentiation in birds of prey

I'm not much of an ornithologist but I know enough to distinguish most Central European birds of prey. To me it is amazing that there are so many species that seem to occupy the same niche. Especially ...
15
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1answer
3k views

Are there birds with knees instead of elbows?

Are there any birds whose legs fold the same way human legs do, in a knee, instead of an elbow which is what all the birds I know have?
4
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1answer
152 views

How are chickens affected by light?

When I was young, I was told never to put a fluorescent light in a hen house because it continuously turns on and off. Extra lighting is used, as far as I know, to 'extend' a chicken's day. Human eyes ...
29
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2answers
13k views

Where do migratory birds go when it rains?

I was reading a comic from XKCD which inspired me to ask this question: "well, where do they go when it rains?" I know that when it rains you usually don't see any birds flying through the sky. I ...
6
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2answers
546 views

What bird species is this? (Heron-like waterfowl from China)

I need help identifying this bird. (Some sort of heron?) It was seen in Wuhan, Hubei, China, in September. It is very common there. It can also swim like a duck, but I've only seen it do this once ...
13
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3answers
2k views

The evolutionary process in bird wings, especially with regard to winglets

In this answer on aviation.SE a comparison is made between the shapes of airplanes wings and the shapes of birds wings. It concludes with the following remark: After all, no bird has winglets. Not ...
13
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4answers
11k views

Why do birds move their heads abruptly?

When we humans look around, we pan smoothly from one side to the other. Birds on the other hand seem to point their head in one direction for a while, then abruptly point their head in another ...
8
votes
1answer
553 views

How do birds influence brood sex ratios?

This paper concludes that birds can adaptively modulate brood sex ratios. How do birds modulate brood sex ratios? Are they somehow able to influence the sex of their young? Or once young are born, do ...
14
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1answer
685 views

Can anyone identify this bird?

Can anyone identify this bird: it looks like a zebra finch but they are not native to UK are they? Photo taken from my garden in Shoreham, West Sussex on 16/8/2014.
16
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1answer
1k views

Can you identify this bird?

Can somebody please identify this bird for me? I spotted this in July 2012 while birding in Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary.
18
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1answer
3k views

What kind of skull is this?

We found this skull on a beach in southwestern Sweden, and are curious as to what kind of animal it was.
7
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3answers
3k views

What exactly does adaptive mean?

This is a quote from Dey et al 2014: Hatching asynchrony is thought to be adaptive because... What exactly does adaptive mean here? Does it mean hatching asynchrony has fitness benefits? Or does ...
9
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1answer
15k views

Why do pigeons kill their chicks when touched by a human?

I used to have many pigeons around the house. If by chance one of the chicks fell out of the nest, we used to put it back using gloves. Usually, if we would touch the chicks with our bare hands, ...
3
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1answer
457 views

Does a non-extinct gliding species of bird exist?

According to wikipedia was Archaeopteryx rather glider than capable of active flight. As a hunting strategy it crawl up to a tree (or other high positioned place) and glide from it to a prey. Most of ...
15
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2answers
1k views

How does a woodpecker not give itself concussions?

How does a woodpecker go about smacking it's head into a tree without killing itself?
3
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1answer
178 views

What bird makes this sound?

It sounds like some kind of crow but not really. Here is my recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TsKFUugot8&feature=youtu.be#t=06s This bird always wakes me up at 04:00 and this started in ...
2
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1answer
280 views

Which of the following demonstrates the pattern of development in Greylag Geese?

Which of the following demonstrates the pattern of development in Greylag Geese? {Please give specific answers, which among the following gives the best available demonstration?, If needed, have a ...
7
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1answer
545 views

Identify this large exotic bird spotted in Taipei, Taiwan

A few months ago while backpacking in Taipei I found this very intriguing large bird facing off a curious puppy in a fairly busy pedestrian area. The bird did not attempt to fly. None of the ...
12
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1answer
464 views

Identify a bird

I have taken this picture of a bird in university zoo in Tel Aviv. It was approximately 25 cm high and seemed to be a flightless species. Can somebody help me identify it?
2
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1answer
119 views

Are Night Parrots (Pezoporus occidentalis) really extinct?

This incredibly rare animal has been reported to be extinct since 1990, however several cases has been raised that night parrot was spotted in the areas of Australia. What is the cause of their ...
11
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2answers
576 views

Help Needed Identifying Corvids

I'd appreciate some help identifying these three corvids I photographed in Austria during the Summer: I know identifying corvids can be difficult and I'm not an ornithologist -- just an amateur bird ...
31
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4answers
5k views

Were there any flying dinosaurs?

I've seen some articles which came in contradiction with each other. The first article was talking about flying dinosaurs, dinosaurs with feathers and so on. A couple of other articles are talking ...
4
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1answer
183 views

Why do insectivorous birds migrate?

Living in northern latitudes, I have always wondered why do migratory birds invest so much time and energy to travel twice a year the vast distances between their breeding grounds and wintering areas. ...
7
votes
1answer
10k views

Do birds have navels?

This picture shows the development inside a bird egg: This shows the connection of the embryo to the yolk sac. Does this mean birds have navels? And if so, what happens to the umbilical cord once ...
6
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0answers
212 views

identification of species of this bird [closed]

Hi I saw this bird near my school canteen in Singapore in Spring. Can anyone identify the species of this bird? Thanks in advance!
1
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2answers
163 views

Do chickens always lay eggs?

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hühnerei says it takes up to 24 h for a chicken to produce an egg. Is that dependent on the chickens nutrition, i.e., if it does not get enough food or the wrong kind, ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Why don't birds in flocks fly into each other?

I've seen videos of hundreds of birds flying in the same general direction but creating incredible patterns in the sky seemingly instantaneously! How do they all know in what direction to turn at the ...
5
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1answer
3k views

Birds and Dinosaurs

This came up in an argument with some friends. I know that birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs, shown pretty clearly through the fossil record. However, is it proper to say that birds are ...
5
votes
1answer
243 views

Why do hummingbirds build nests with live ferns instead of dead materials?

Hummingbirds prefer to build their nests with spore-bearing ferns, and mosses. This is helpful for the reproduction of the ferns, which are then better able to spread their seeds. But how is this ...
7
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1answer
297 views

Bird identification: Warora, India

These photographs have been taken in Warora, India. Could someone please help identify this bird?
2
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1answer
637 views

How do birds learn their tunes in isolation from their own species?

I wonder what a bird would sing if it didn't have its parents around (or any other birds for that matter) to learn its chirping sounds from. I'm interested in how a bird would sing... in complete ...
9
votes
1answer
235 views

Can you “spam” bird sounds so that birds no longer interpret them right?

Is it possible to make birds confused by repeating recorded chirping or singing? Or do they always perceive them as usual, even if the situation is clearly not as described by those sounds? For ...
2
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1answer
3k views

What is the chemical composition of an egg shell?

It ought to be some combination of C, O, and H, I presume. But really why should I care if eggshell gets in my eggs while I'm cooking?
9
votes
1answer
14k views

Why are certain baby (water)fowl yellow?

Why are e.g. ducklings, goslings, turkey and chicken chicks (partly) yellow? What is the chemistry background to this? What compounds from the egg cause this to happen? What is the evolutionary ...
2
votes
1answer
269 views

Is there an instinct-driven body language for birds?

Over the last year or so, I've been observing house sparrows, because they are so prevalent in the northeast US cities. I noticed that a lot of sparrows, even in different cities seem to have very ...
9
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1answer
7k views

Why does ostrich meat look and taste more like beef than chicken?

Some time ago I tasted ostrich meat, and what was amazing to me was that the meat very much resembled beef, much more than it resembled chicken, turkey or duck meat. And even more than lamb and pork ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Can songbirds mimic car alarm sounds?

A silly question. A few days ago I observed a very vocal bird with impressive vocal variety. It was rapidly switching from one tune to the next. After sometime I realized that the bird might be ...
4
votes
0answers
102 views

Food Intake versus ability to flee among birds, particularly the hummingbird?

Logically speaking, if a hummingbird drinks too much nectar, it will be temporarily overweight and less able or unable to fly to escape danger. However if the same hummingbird doesn't drink enough ...
3
votes
1answer
176 views

Identify this waterfowl species?

I've been unable to find anything on the Google resembling this bird. I took the photo in Virginia Beach, VA around 2010, October, I think... It appears to be between winter and summer plumage but I'm ...

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