61 votes
Accepted

I just saw this bird outside my apartment. Anyone know what it is? (Texas, US)

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 ...
Tyto alba's user avatar
  • 8,784
40 votes
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How long before robin no longer needs the nest on my porch?

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 ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
39 votes

I just saw this bird outside my apartment. Anyone know what it is? (Texas, US)

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 ...
David Richerby's user avatar
38 votes
Accepted

Do homing pigeons fly straight home or follow certain "highways"?

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 ...
iayork's user avatar
  • 14.2k
28 votes
Accepted

What is this little owl-like bird?

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 ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
27 votes
Accepted

How can birds disperse seeds when they are able to digest them?

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 ...
AliceD's user avatar
  • 52.4k
21 votes

Large grey bird at creek mouth (east of Toronto)

I'm highly confident that this is a cormorant. I'm less certain of the species, but based on the location I would bet that it is a double-crested cormorant (perhaps a juvenile based on the head color/...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 45.3k
19 votes

What species of duck is this?

Probably a domestic hybrid of a mallard. From Cornell: If your duck has large patches of white where you didn’t expect it, think domestic duck. Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), which have the ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
18 votes
Accepted

Is it painful for the hen to lay eggs?

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 ...
YviDe's user avatar
  • 2,258
18 votes
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What species is this black, blue and white bird?

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] ...
canadianer's user avatar
  • 17.7k
17 votes
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What is this raptor on a building in California?

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: ...
Tyto alba's user avatar
  • 8,784
17 votes

What is this feather like bug with no legs?

It is a specialized feather called "down" (like in down pillows, etc.) Down feathers have a rachis that is shorter than their longest barb. They are completely plumulaceous and have a fluffy ...
anongoodnurse's user avatar
17 votes

What species is this black, blue and white bird?

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 ...
adjan's user avatar
  • 2,106
17 votes
Accepted

What is this bird similar to a seagull but with a forked swift-like tail?

This is one of the numerous species of tern. They are common birds of the seashore and rivers world-wide. The characteristic forked tail and the black cap on the head is what gives it away. It is hard ...
bob1's user avatar
  • 11.7k
16 votes
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What is this bird called?

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. ...
Tyto alba's user avatar
  • 8,784
16 votes
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What kind of crow is this?

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 ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
15 votes

Can someone identify this bird? It looks like it has a few deformities

It's an anhinga, as@kmm commented. There's nothing wrong with it; it's not deformed in any visible (to me) way. They spread their wings to dry, as they are darting birds that do not float on the ...
anongoodnurse's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

What bird is this?

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.
John Rennie's user avatar
15 votes
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Where do birds and squirrels go to die?

A major cause of squirrel death is predation: Survival and mortality of the Arizona gray squirrel (Sciurus arizonensis) Causes of red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) mortality in England You won't see ...
iayork's user avatar
  • 14.2k
15 votes
Accepted

Owl identification. Winter in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada

That is a nice picture of a Barred Owl. The heavy well-separated streaks on the breast and eye color (dark vs. yellow) are both distinctly different from that of the Great Gray. The markings in the ...
tyersome's user avatar
  • 5,588
13 votes

What bird is this?

Although the picture is blurry, this almost certainly is a great blue heron (Ardea herodias). © Helen Pine, FL, March 2008 (Left) © Brian Guest, FL, March 2009 (Right) The coloration ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

ID of a pair of similar-looking birds in NT, Australia

I think these are most likely nankeen night heron (Nycticorax caledonicus). The only that does not fit is your size estimation. See the images (from here): I think the first image shows a bird which ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 51.6k
12 votes
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Can someone identify this Brazilian bird?

These look very similar to the Guira cuckoo (Guira guira) which are found in this part of Brazil. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guira_cuckoo
wanderweeer's user avatar
  • 2,733
12 votes
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Identification of these birds

This is very likely the great tit (Parvus major). Photo by Walter Baxter.
Domen's user avatar
  • 1,929
11 votes

Can birds touch their wing tips together either in front or behind (not above and below)?

Black herons (Egretta ardesiaca) can overlap their wing tips in front of them while doing what is known as canopy feeding.
tyersome's user avatar
  • 5,588
10 votes
Accepted

Did birds descend from a single or multiple species of dinosaur?

The answer is "one common ancestor", but I'll expand. All organisms descend from one common ancestor so that question is not quite well-posed, but what you are actually asking I think is whether ...
Oosaka's user avatar
  • 3,245
10 votes
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What kind of big bird is this seen walking around Taipei?

I am fairly certain that this is a Malayan Night Heron (Gorsachius melanolophus). Taiwan is listed as one of the countries where the Malayan night heron can be found. Its diet consists of small ...
Johnny's user avatar
  • 1,509
10 votes
Accepted

How do seagulls know it is the 9th inning at a baseball game?

Many animals, particularly some birds, are smarter than we give them credit for. Corvids, for example, are known to not only use tools, but are capable of planning and understanding some cause-and-...
JYelton's user avatar
  • 945

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