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Birds. In Case You’ve Never Seen a Bird…. Some Examples include: Owls Ostriches Flamingos Eagles Penguins Robins Pigeons Vultures. Birds Are…. Endothermic – they generate and maintain heat Eat more food than ectotherms Insulated by feathers. External Anatomy. Coverings/Defense

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In case you ve never seen a bird

In Case You’ve Never Seen a Bird…

  • Some Examples include:

    • Owls

    • Ostriches

    • Flamingos

    • Eagles

    • Penguins

    • Robins

    • Pigeons

    • Vultures

Birds are

Birds Are…

  • Endothermic – they generate and maintain heat

  • Eat more food

    than ectotherms

  • Insulated

    by feathers

External anatomy

External Anatomy


  • Scaly legs with 2-4 toes, and claws

  • Two wings – not always capable of flight

  • Feathers – down, contour, covers, flight feathers


  • No teeth, but sharp beaks

    • Long for nectar eating, broad for hunting

Internal anatomy

Internal Anatomy


  • Crop – organ that temporarily stores food

  • Gizzard – grinds food


  • Lung with Air Sacs, attached to allow for one way air flow

4 chambered heart

4 Chambered Heart



  • Internal Fertilization

  • Oviparous (with amniotic egg)

    • give birth to precocious and altricious birds

    • Altricious – helpless

      at birth, require care

    • Precocious – active

      at birth, usually born

      on the ground



  • Birds have adapted for flight in several ways:

    • High metabolism

    • Air sacs

    • Small kidneys

    • Hollow bones

    • Keel

Big idea 1

Big Idea #1

Aside from feathers, which are completely unique to birds, birds have structures that show close relation to other species.

  • Scales and skeletal structure suggest some relation to reptiles, especially dinosaurs

    • In fact, fossils have shown us that feathers used to be found on dinosaurs. As well, protein sequencing of collagen tissue and similar cell anatomy shows that birds are even more related to T-rexs than more recent reptiles.

Big idea 2

Big Idea 2

  • Birds obtain energy from eating food

    • Digestion of the food allows for more efficient energy absorption

    • Birds, especially small birds, have the highest metabolic rates

      • Hummingbirds have the highest basal metabolic rate

    • Birds are warm-blooded, their higher metabolisms allow them to live in cooler, or more diverse, environments

      • In addition to their metabolisms, they use their feathers, fat, and/or high-energy food to keep heat at optimal levels

Big idea 2 continued

Big Idea 2 continued

  • Since birds have hollow bones, they can fly

    • Hollow bones allows for energy conservation

    • Use energy efficiently so they can fly for long periods of time

      • Birds soar in order to save energy (Ex: Albatross Bird)

  • Birds have air sacs, which constantly provide oxygen

    • This allows for more ATP to be produced through cellular respiration

Innate behavior inherited instinctive

Innate Behavior(Inherited, Instinctive)

Known as brood parasitism, cuckoos lay their eggs in other birds nests in order to relieve themselves of the burden of raising their young. However, even though the cuckoo hatchlings are raised by surrogate parents, they still behave like their biological parents, the cuckoos.

This increases the fitness of the population because the parents can keep reproducing without having to worry about caring for their young, and they won’t have to worry about their species dying out.

Learned behavior

Learned Behavior

Known as imprinting, immediately after ducks and geese are born they establish a connection with the species they see first. Typically, their duck parents are who they see first, so they imprint on ducks, and they know they are a duck. However, if they see humans first, they will imprint on humans, and think they are a human.

Ducks and geese also imprint on with whom they are raised, their siblings. Even though they may have imprinted on humans once they were born, if they are raised with their duck siblings, they will imprint on the ducks, and then think they are ducks.

This can be a danger to the fitness of the population because if ducks are born and raised with another species they won’t reproduce with their own species.

Cooperative behavior

Cooperative Behavior

  • Found in southern Africa, Pied Babblers live in groups of 6-7. While foraging for prey such as scorpions and snakes, one of them will act as a sentry by continuously calling out a watchman’s song as long as it is safe for the others to continue hunting.

  • This increase the fitness of the population because the bird acting as a sentry allows the others who are foraging to spend less time searching for predators and more time searching for prey. This increases their chances of finding bigger and better prey, and to not lose track of it.

Big idea 4

Big Idea 4

  • Birds spread seeds by eating fruits and seeds and then dispersing them once they are released from their digestive tracts

  • Birds pollinate flowers when drinking their nectar (Ex: hummingbirds)

  • Some birds provide humans with food (Ex: chickens, quails, doves, turkeys)

  • Some birds provide humans with decoration, clothes, and/or pillows (Ex: geese)

  • They are part of the ecosystem in the fact that they eat, and are eaten.

  • Some birds control the insect population

  • Some birds control the rodent population and even the higher predatory animals, like snakes (Ex: hawks, eagles, owls, vultures)

Big idea 4 continued

Big Idea 4 continued

  • Red-naped sapsuckers play two distinct keystone roles.

    • Excavate nest cavities in fungus-infected aspens

    • Drill sap wells into willows that provide abundant nourishment for themselves and other species

  • Disappearance of any element of the complex could cause an unanticipated unraveling of the community.

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