59

It is American Woodcock, Scolopax minor. Superbly camouflaged against the leaf litter, the brown-mottled American Woodcock walks slowly along the forest floor, probing the soil with its long bill in search of earthworms. Unlike its coastal relatives, this plump little shorebird lives in young forests and shrubby old fields across eastern North America. ...


48

Birds are both flying dinosaurs and flying reptiles. Yes, that's potentially confusing. To understand the apparent contradiction, you have to understand how modern classification of organisms works (phylogenetic systematics). Under the old (Linnean) classification system, Reptilia (reptiles) was an order and Aves (birds) was a separate order. Phylogenetic ...


39

I've found whatbird.com to be pretty good for identifying American birds. Asking it for grey and brown medium-sized birds that are commonly found in Texas gives 14 options, of which the best match is the American woodcock, as suggested by Sanjukta (which is conveniently early on the alphabetical list!)


39

According to Cornell's All About Birds website, you will have to wait about a month for the nest to be cleared. The egg incubation period is 12–14 days. Following hatching, the nestlings will remain in the nest for another 13 days (i.e., the "nestling period" is 13 days). However, there are two caveats to this: A typical robin clutch size (i.e. the # of ...


38

They have mental maps of landmarks, which they use as well as "compass" cues: ... experienced birds can accurately complete their memorized routes by using landmarks alone. Nevertheless, we also find that route following is often consistently offset in the expected compass direction, faithfully reproducing the shape of the track, but in parallel. --...


35

Source of information on Biology.SE This answer offers an introduction to phylogeny on the case study of dinosaurs and birds. If you are not at ease with the concept of monophyletic group, you should definitely have started with this introduction. This post is somewhat related. Origin of your misunderstanding The question is all about nomenclature (and a ...


28

This looks a lot like a double-barred finch (Taeniopygia bichenovii). Your note about this being an "owl-like" bird is supported by it's less common name, the "owl finch", so named for the dark ring around the face. Source: Wikipedia; Credit: Glen Fergus If this is in fact the bird you saw, you're right that it's not native to your country (or continent ...


27

Birds may indeed digest seeds under conditions of rest. It has been postulated that almost all current knowledge on mechanisms of internal seed dispersal has been obtained from experiments with resting animals. A study with the mallard Anas platyrhynchos (common wild duck), claimed to be quantitatively one of the most important seed dispersing animals in ...


26

It's definitely a bird pelvis (synsacrum). Based on the size (~30 cm), it came from a very large bird. Unfortunately, comparative images of bird pelves are rare on the internet. Some possibilities (large birds of Sweden possibly found on the coast): Great northern loon Golden eagle Common crane A loon skeleton (from http://paolov.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/...


25

The joint you are thinking of is not a knee, nor is it an elbow, instead it is an ankle which is bending the same way as us humans. You can see from the below diagram that the knee - the joint between the femur and tibia - is just further up the leg normally hidden by feathers. Birds have a comparatively elongated metatarsus which gives the impression that ...


24

Almost definitely (I'm not a regular birder) European Green Woodpecker (latin name: Picus viridis) and it is native to your area according to its species distribution map. "Green woodpeckers are the largest and most colourful woodpeckers native to Britain. They are easily recognised by their laughing ‘yaffle’ call, which they use to demarcate their ...


24

In addition to kmm's excellent answer, I'd like to present the xkcd point of view. By any reasonable definition, T. Rex is more closely related to sparrows than to Stegosaurus. Separation by time Phylogenetic distance Physical similarity Birds aren't descended from dinosaurs, they are dinosaurs. Which means the fastest animal ...


20

Birds have a body part known as the nicitating membrane otherwise known as the "third eyelid". This part has become vestigial in humans, where it remains as the plica semilunaris. This image of a masked lapwing clearly shows its nicitating membrane in action, where it covers the eye in a horizontal motion. This is analogous to blinking in humans, and the ...


19

Short answer Birds emit infrared. Background Objects with a temperature higher than the background emit detectable infrared (IR). Endothermic (warmblooded) animals keep their body temperatures at around 37oC and given the relatively cool temperatures at the earth's surface, endotherms generally emit more IR than the background. Endothermic animals include ...


19

Yes, mantises hunt cicadas... Mantis eating cicada. Source: Dreamstime. ...and yes, orioles hunt cicadas too... Oriole eating cicada. Source: Bird Ecology Study Group. .., and what may be more relevant to your idiom: orioles prey on mantises. Oriole eating mantis. Source: Sustainable Adventure.


18

This looks pretty much like a female zebra finch to me (the male have a more prominent feather pattern). See this picture: These birds are not native in Europe, this is correct. But it is always possible that birds escape captivity (or are released) and the live in countries where they originally not belong. I think this is the case with the zebra finch ...


18

I just weighed a pigeon tail feather (~10 cm) long. The mass was 0.05 g. Although all tail feathers are not equal in length (and all pigeons are not equal in size), this is probably a good approximation. Measuring the drag coefficient is going to be very challenging, because it will vary with the orientation of the oncoming airflow. A feather falling with ...


17

The male kakapo (Strigops habroptila) in that video is called Sirocco. Kakapo were (and still are) very close to extinction, so in the 1980s the Kakapo Recovery Programme was launched. As part of this programme, rangers monitor all known kakapo in the wild, visiting their nests and generally ensuring they are in good health. When Sirocco was a young chick, a ...


17

We really don't know - we can't really ask the chicken. At least, it's unlikely it's as painful as it can be with humans. The reason human birth is (or can be) very painful is that the human baby's head has to fit through the woman's pelvis. Since splitting from chimpanzees, human heads have gotten bigger, while the pelvis has gotten more narrow due to ...


17

That bird is commonly called a magpie. The only species found in Alberta is Pica hudsonia. You can see a reference image on the left and their distribution throughout Canada on the right: [source] Interestingly, it is one of the only non-mammals studied that is able to recognize itself in a mirror. In fact, these and other corvids are thought to be some of ...


16

I looked up winglets so I had context for this answer. I'm interpreting winglets as the vertical tips at the end of airplane wings. If so, then you are correct. The spread primary feathers of soaring birds like eagles function as winglets (Tucker 1993). Airbus has a biomimicry web page devoted to some of the biological designs, including winglets, they ...


16

It is White breasted Kingfisher also called White throated Kingfisher. Halcyon smyrnensis. Why this is Halcyon smyrnensis? Halcyon kingfishers are mostly large kingfishers with heavy bills. According to wikipedia this genus has 11 species, some workers also include genera Pelargopsis, Syma and Todirhamphus. Out of all the 11 species only two are ...


16

It's clearly a magpie, a member of the crow family (Corvidae). There are many magpie species throughout the world, but since you say it's native to Canada, it must be the black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia). There are only two magpie species native to Northern America, the other being the yellow-billed magpie (Pica nuttalli), occuring in California. Image ...


16

I'd say you guessed correctly. This does appear to be the hooded crow (Corvus cornix). In German, it's called Nebelkrähe (meaning "mist crow"). A Hooded Crow Corvus cornix in the garden of Belvedere (Vienna). [Source]. Description: ashy grey bird with black head, throat, wings, tail, and thigh feathers, as well as a black bill, eyes, and feet. C ...


15

Various features of brain,skull and beak anatomy help to achieve protection. A paper was published in PLoSOne in 2011 on this very topic: Why do woodpeckers resist head impact injury: a biomechanical investigation There is also a very readable summary on the BBC website. I advise that you read the whole article, but here is a quotation which lists the ...


15

This is a Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), which is a heron in its breeding plumage. When not breeding, the bird is white. See the images for comparision: Breeding cattle egret with colored feathers. Nonbreeding cattle egret, completely white.


15

It is a Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus). Its breeding range spans eastern North America and along the coast of California and northern to northeastern-central Mexico. Identifying features: Presence of dark wings with white spots. Presence of dark-brownish head, orangish-brown chest.


15

That is a red whiskered bulbul. (image from the Wikipedia article) The crest isn't as prominent in your pictures - maybe it has just been to the barbers.


13

Flying came first, as far as we know. The earliest known bird (currently), Archaeopteryx lithographica, already had aerodynamic feathers (Feduccia and Tordoff, 1979). The Solnhofen Limestone, where it was discovered, is ~145 million years old, so we can place the "when" flight evolved to greater than or equal to that time. Gansus yumenensis is regarded as ...


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