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The largest bird is the ostrich . It can grow up to 9 feet (2.7 m) tall. The ostrich also lays the largest birds' eggs which are up to 4.5 x 7 inches (11 x 18 cm) across and , weigh 3 pounds (1400 g).
LARGEST EXTINCT BIRD
Dromornis stirtoni which was about 10 feet (3 m) tall and weighed up to 1,000 pounds (454 kg).
The smallest bird is the bee hummingbird which is 2.5 inches long ( 6.2 cm) weighing only 0.06 oz (1.6 g). Hummingbirds lay the smallest birds' eggs. They always lay 2 at a time, each the size of a person's small fingernail.
The only backwards and sideways flyer is the hummingbird !
BIRDS WITH WING CLAWS
The Hoatzin has small claws on the first and second wing digits when it is young (it uses the claws to climb trees). The African touraco also has wing claws when it is young. The ostrich has three claws on each wing.
FASTEST IN THE SKY
The fastest flying birds include:
FASTEST ON LAND
The fastest-running bird is the ostrich which can run up to 43 mph (70 kph). In contrast, the road runner (a type of cuckoo) runs about 12 mph (19 kph)
Gentoo Penguins are the fastest swimming birds.
The highest flyer is Ruppell's griffon vulture. One collided with an airplane off the Ivory Coast in 1973 at 37,000 feet (11,278 m). A migrating Bar-headed Goose was once seen over the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal at roughly 28,000 feet.
The arctic tern makes the longest migration each year, flying 20,000 to 25,000 miles (32000-40000 km) each year from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back again.
The heaviest flying bird is the great bustard which weighs up to 46 pounds (20.9 kg).
Swifts (Apodidae) and hummingbirds.
ONLY TWO POISONOUS BIRDS
The only two known poisonous birds are the Hooded Pitohui (Pitohui dichrous, also called the "garbage bird") and the Ifrita (Ifrita kowaldi) from Papua, New Guinea. The toxin (homobatrachotoxin, a steroidal alkaloid) is concentrated in these bird's feathers and skin, and is probably obtained from some plant that they eat.
The Australian pelican's beak is up to 18.5 inches (47 cm) long.
A BEAK LONGER THAN THE BODY
The sword-billed hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera), which lives in the Andes mountains of South America, has a beak that is longer than its body. It uses this incredible beak to sip nectar from the long, tube-like datura flower.
The ostrich has the biggest eyeballs, which are 2 inches (5 cm) across.
BEST NIGHT VISION
Owls have the best night vision; these birds hunt at night.
Owls (especially Barn Owls and Great Horned Owls) have the best hearing; these birds hunt at night.
The Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi) which is about 6.1 inches (16 cm) long, has a wingspan of 15 inches (38 cm), and weighs about 1.5 ounces (4g).
The biggest Owls are the:
- Great Gray Owls (Strix nebulosa) [which are about 33 inches (84 cm) long, have a wingspan of about 5 feet (152 cm), and weigh about 3 pounds (1450 g)]
- Eurasian Eagle Owls (Bubo bubo) [which are about 28 inches (71 cm) long, have a wingspan of about 5.2 feet (160 cm), and weigh up to 9.8 pounds (4200 g)]
- Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) [which are about 25 inches (63 cm) long, have a wingspan of about 5 feet (152 cm), and weigh about 4 pounds (1800 g)]
HEAVIEST BIRD OF PREY
Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) - which weigh about 20-27 pounds (9-12 kg) and have a wingspan of over 10 feet (3 m).
BIGGEST BIRDS OF PREY
The largest birds of prey are eagles (Steller's Sea Eagle and the Harpy Eagle) and vultures (the California Condor, the Andean condor, and the Cinereous or Black Vulture) that have a wingspan of up to about 10 feet (3 m).
MOST POWERFUL BIRD OF PREY
Harpy Eagles (Harpia harpyja) are the most powerful bird of prey. They are about 2.8 ft (86 cm) long and have a wingspan of about 6.5 ft (2 m). Their curved talons are up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long, as long as the claws of a grizzly bear.
LONGEST WING SPANS
The birds with the longest wing spans are the marabou stork, a scavenger with a wing span of 8 -13 feet (2.4-4 m), the wandering albatross, whose wingspan is up to about 12.5-13 feet (3.8-4 m).
The best hoverers are hummingbirds , terns , gulls, and kestrels (sparrow hawks).
The most thieving bird is the magpie, which collects shiny objects for its nests.
LONGEST LIFE SPANS
Among the longest-lived birds are:
Some other bird life spans are:
- Parrots - various species of parrots live from 40 to over 100 years.
- Cockatoos can live for about 75 years.
- Macaws live for over 60-70 years in captivity.
The life span of many birds is unknown.
- the rhinoceros hornbill, lives up to 33 years in captivity
- the rhea, a large, flightless bird that lives up to 40 years in captivity, 20 year in the wild.
- the vulture, a scavenger which can live up to 30 years in captivity
- the ostrich , which has a life span of up to 40 years!
- the swan, which can live up to 50 years in captivity, up to 19 years in the wild
- the bald eagle, that lives over 50 years in captivity
The oldest known bird is the long-extinct Archaeopteryx, which lived 135-180 million years ago, during the Jurassic Period. It had teeth but is considered to be a bird. Beautiful Archaeopteryx fossils have been found in Germany.
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