[269] Indigenous peoples of the central Andes maintain legends of birds passing to and from metaphysical worlds.[269]. [205][206], At the time of their hatching, chicks range in development from helpless to independent, depending on their species. [155] Partial migration can form a large percentage of the migration behaviour of birds in some regions; in Australia, surveys found that 44% of non-passerine birds and 32% of passerines were partially migratory.

Birds figure throughout human culture.

Oxygenated blood then flows from the lungs through the left atrium to the left ventricle where it is pumped out to the body. [6] However, an earlier definition proposed by Jacques Gauthier gained wide currency in the 21st century, and is used by many scientists including adherents of the Phylocode system. Cooperative breeding in birds typically occurs when offspring, usually males, delay dispersal from their natal group in order to remain with the family to help rear younger kin. Third Edition pp. [10], The first large, diverse lineage of short-tailed avialans to evolve were the Enantiornithes, or "opposite birds", so named because the construction of their shoulder bones was in reverse to that of modern birds. [60] Some species, including cattle egret,[61] yellow-headed caracara[62] and galah,[63] have spread naturally far beyond their original ranges as agricultural practices created suitable new habitat. Birds are tetrachromatic, possessing ultraviolet (UV) sensitive cone cells in the eye as well as green, red and blue ones. [279] In heraldry, birds, especially eagles, often appear in coats of arms. [23] Together, these form a group called Paraves. Many birds glean for insects, invertebrates, fruit, or seeds. [68], Like the reptiles, birds are primarily uricotelic, that is, their kidneys extract nitrogenous waste from their bloodstream and excrete it as uric acid, instead of urea or ammonia, through the ureters into the intestine. The other 25% of the air goes directly into the lungs.

Male blue tits have an ultraviolet reflective crown patch which is displayed in courtship by posturing and raising of their nape feathers.

[163] Variation in plumage also allows for the identification of birds, particularly between species. [153], Some bird species undertake shorter migrations, travelling only as far as is required to avoid bad weather or obtain food. Some displays, however, are quite elaborate.

Avialae, initially proposed to replace the traditional fossil content of Aves, is often used synonymously with the vernacular term "bird" by these researchers. [69][70][71] However, birds such as hummingbirds can be facultatively ammonotelic, excreting most of the nitrogenous wastes as ammonia. Birds communicate using primarily visual and auditory signals. [147][148], Many bird species migrate to take advantage of global differences of seasonal temperatures, therefore optimising availability of food sources and breeding habitat.
[81] Sperm from multiple males may compete through this mechanism. [179], Some birds have also demonstrated the capacity to fall into slow-wave sleep one hemisphere of the brain at a time. Bird hunting is primarily a recreational activity except in extremely undeveloped areas. [59] Others have been accidental, such as the establishment of wild monk parakeets in several North American cities after their escape from captivity. [98] They also have double cones, likely to mediate achromatic vision. The most important birds hunted in North and South America are waterfowl; other widely hunted birds include pheasants, wild turkeys, quail, doves, partridge, grouse, snipe, and woodcock. [124] Although flightless, penguins use similar musculature and movements to "fly" through the water, as do some flight-capable birds such as auks, shearwaters and dippers. This adaptation is also known from marine mammals. The avialan species from this time period include Anchiornis huxleyi, Xiaotingia zhengi, and Aurornis xui. [109] The screamers (Anhimidae), some jacanas (Jacana, Hydrophasianus), the spur-winged goose (Plectropterus), the torrent duck (Merganetta) and nine species of lapwing (Vanellus) use a sharp spur on the wing as a weapon. For other uses, see, Gauthier, J., and de Queiroz, K. (2001). The first classification of birds was developed by Francis Willughby and John Ray in their 1676 volume Ornithologiae. [149][150], Migration is highly demanding energetically, particularly as birds need to cross deserts and oceans without refuelling. [103] The nictitating membrane also covers the eye and acts as a contact lens in many aquatic birds. The young of many bird species do not precisely fit into either the precocial or altricial category, having some aspects of each and thus fall somewhere on an "altricial-precocial spectrum". [127] Most birds are highly adapted for rapid digestion to aid with flight. The discovery of Vegavis, a late Cretaceous member of the Anatidae, proved that the diversification of modern birds started before the Cenozoic era. [286] Many bird populations are declining worldwide, with 1,227 species listed as threatened by BirdLife International and the IUCN in 2009.[287][288].

Among the most famous of these bird artists was John James Audubon, whose paintings of North American birds were a great commercial success in Europe and who later lent his name to the National Audubon Society. II. pp. [190], For females, possible benefits of extra-pair copulation include getting better genes for her offspring and insuring against the possibility of infertility in her mate. The loss of osteoderms otherwise common in archosaurs and acquisition of primitive feathers might have occurred early during this phase. Brood parasites may be either obligate brood parasites, which must lay their eggs in the nests of other species because they are incapable of raising their own young, or non-obligate brood parasites, which sometimes lay eggs in the nests of conspecifics to increase their reproductive output even though they could have raised their own young.

Nectar feeders such as hummingbirds, sunbirds, lories, and lorikeets amongst others have specially adapted brushy tongues and in many cases bills designed to fit co-adapted flowers. They facilitate flight, provide insulation that aids in thermoregulation, and are used in display, camouflage, and signalling.

[65] The ribs are flattened and the sternum is keeled for the attachment of flight muscles except in the flightless bird orders. The American Museum of Natural History gave the latest figure of bird species with a call for researchers to work and document on the “hidden” avian diversity. Some of these are zoonotic diseases that can also be transmitted to humans. They are usually laid in a nest and incubated by the parents. Enriquez, P.L. "Family Megapodiidae (Megapodes)" in, Metz VG, Schreiber EA (2002). [65] There are several types of feathers, each serving its own set of purposes. For this reason, bird researchers believe that there are more bird species to be discovered. [125], Most birds are diurnal, but some birds, such as many species of owls and nightjars, are nocturnal or crepuscular (active during twilight hours), and many coastal waders feed when the tides are appropriate, by day or night. [157] Some species may also be nomadic, holding no fixed territory and moving according to weather and food availability. [222] Many types of avian sexual selection have been identified; intersexual selection, also known as female choice; and intrasexual competition, where individuals of the more abundant sex compete with each other for the privilege to mate. In some species, other members of the same species—usually close relatives of the breeding pair, such as offspring from previous broods—will help with the raising of the young. Plunge-diving seabirds associate with dolphins and tuna, which push shoaling fish towards the surface. (Many others are probably extinct, but we don't know for sure.) Once the blood has become deoxygenated, it travels through venules then veins and back to the heart. [128] Some migratory birds have adapted to use protein stored in many parts of their bodies, including protein from the intestines, as additional energy during migration.
Birds are warm-blooded with beautiful feathers, wings, and lay eggs. [168] Some birds also use mechanical sounds for auditory communication. Phylogenetic taxonomy places Aves in the dinosaur clade Theropoda.[5]. Depending on the species, these may include wing or tail drumming, dancing, aerial flights, or communal lekking. [207] Chicks at neither extreme but favoring one or the other may be termed semi-precocial[208] or semi-altricial. [85] This, however, was later proven to not be the case. Ninety-five per cent of bird species are socially monogamous. [199], All birds lay amniotic eggs with hard shells made mostly of calcium carbonate. [255], Birds play prominent and diverse roles in religion and mythology. The spine has cervical, thoracic, lumbar and caudal regions with the number of cervical (neck) vertebrae highly variable and especially flexible, but movement is reduced in the anterior thoracic vertebrae and absent in the later vertebrae. [13] Avialae is also occasionally defined as an apomorphy-based clade (that is, one based on physical characteristics). There are many exceptions to this pattern, however; the ground-nesting nightjars have pale eggs, and camouflage is instead provided by their plumage. [9], The well-known probable early avialan, Archaeopteryx, dates from slightly later Jurassic rocks (about 155 million years old) from Germany. Birds that use the sun compensate for the changing position of the sun during the day by the use of an internal clock. [64] The skull bones in adults are fused and do not show cranial sutures. The chicks of the Synthliboramphus murrelets, like the ancient murrelet, leave the nest the night after they hatch, following their parents out to sea, where they are raised away from terrestrial predators. Kleptoparasitism is thought to be a supplement to food obtained by hunting, rather than a significant part of any species' diet; a study of great frigatebirds stealing from masked boobies estimated that the frigatebirds stole at most 40% of their food and on average stole only 5%.

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