1. Scientific Name: Aves
2. Symmetry of Birds: Bilateral symmetry
3. Birds’ Phylum
Birds belong to the Chordata phylum along with mammals, reptiles,
amphibian, sharks, bony fishes, and others. The most closely related group
to birds are reptiles and both species come from dinosauria(dinosaurs).
Mammals, birds, and reptiles are all Amniotes and the last common
ancestor of birds and mammal (therefore, humans as well) lived in the
Carboniferous period around 360-300 MYA.
4. Derived Characteristics
Most of birds’ derived characteristics are adaptations to ease their flying.
Some examples are:
• Feathers help flight, thermoregulation, signaling, camouflage, and
distinguishing between themselves
• Birds are endothermic and have four-chambered heart in order to
maintain fast metabolism for energy for flights.
• Excellent vision and large brains in comparison to reptiles and
amphibians. Their brains help them with visual perceptions
• Hollow Bones. They are lighter and allow birds to fly.
5. How Birds Obtain Food
• Birds tend to obtain food depending on what they eat. For example insect-
eating birds attack from high branches, ones that consume nectar have
brushy tongues, etc.
• Birds don’t have teeth, thus they can’t chew and consume unmasticated
6. Birds’ Locomotion: Mostly by flying
7. Birds’ Lifecycle: Egg->Juvenile->Adult->Breeding->Repeat of Cycle
8. Examples of species:
o Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Bald eagles, which are commonly known as the symbol of the USA, are
found in North America near large bodies of water. There they move by
flying and hunt mostly fish, but also other birds, small mammals and
reptiles. Thus their ecological role is the one of a predator. Like other
birds, bald eagles hatch from eggs and are looked after by both parents for
about 35 days. They reach maturity in about 4-5 years and when breeding
they lay 1-3 eggs.
o House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
House sparrows are the most widespread birds. They can be found in
urban areas in all continents, for they tend to nest on buildings. Hus their
ecological niche is of cavity-nesting birds. They move around by flying
and usually eat grains, seeds and insects. House sparrows’ eggs hatch in
2-3 weeks, after that they stay in the nest for about 12-14 days and reach
maturity in 1 year. These birds mate for life, having 3 newborn birds per
o Ostrich (Struthio camelus)
Ostriches are famous as the biggest birds in the present world. As such
they can’t fly, but only walk or run, maintaining the highest land speed for
living birds. Ostriches live in savannas and desserts in Central and
Southern Africa. They eat mostly plants and insects, making their
ecological role as ones who feed on plants. Ostriches’ eggs hatch in about
40 days, after that the babies mature for 2-4 years and when breeding lay
from 10 to 70 eggs.
o Bee Hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae)
The Bee Hummingbird is known to be the smallest living bird specie. It’s
found in dense forests in Cuba and Isle of Youth. It feeds on nectar and
insects and is important for fertilizing several plant species, which live in
its range. It moves by flying. Bee Hummingbird’s eggs hatch after 16-18
days and the little birds stay in the nest for about 3 weeks in which they
are fed by their mother. When breeding they lay about 2 eggs.
9. Human Uses/Interactions with Birds
• Birds’ eggs and meat have been used for food since antiquity;
• Various kinds of birds ha been domesticated for food or other uses; ex.
pigeons used as messengers, many others are kept as pets;
• Some viruses (ex. ornithosis) can be transmitted from birds to man, though
• Bird feathers are often used for decoration.
10. Fun Fact about Birds
• During the First World War a post pigeon called Cher Ami even lost an
eye and a leg, while doing its job. For its bravery it was awarded with a
Distinguished Service Cross and it had its leg replaced with a wooden one.
1. Aves – The scientific name for birds derived from Latin
2. Bilateral symmetry – If you cut a body in half, something that
is not normally practiced, you will get two mirror shape
3. Chordata phylum - A phylum that comprises all vertebrates
4. Amniotes – Vertebrates, whose embryo during pregnancy is
covered by a membrane. This egg can be both internal
(mammals) or external (reptiles and birds).
5. Endothermic – warm-blooded; applies for organisms which
try to generate their own heat to maintain body
6. Incubation – Occurs when birds sit on their eggs in order
for them to hatch, as eggs need heat.
7. Tetrapod – Vertebrae animals, which have 4 legs
8. Ornithosis – Also called parrot fever; a virus transferred
from birds to men;
9. Binocular vision – Seeing only one object at a time; a vision
all birds of prey possess
10.Monocular vision – Some birds, such as pigeons, have this. It
means to be able to see two objects at the same time,
one per each eye.
11. Guano – Bird droppings
1. Campbell, Neil A., and Jane B. Reece. Biology: Vertebrates. San Francisco:
Pearson Benjamin Cummings, 2008. Print – Derived Characteristics of birds
2. “Bird Classifications/Families.” Nutty Birdwatcher. Birdnature.com. 1 Dec. 1998.
Web. 22 Mar. 2010. http://www.birdnature.com/borderintro.html - Birds
3. Drs. Foster and Smith. “Interesting Bird Facts.” PetEducation.com. Foster &
Smith, Inc. 1997. Web. 22 Mar. 2010. <
http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=15+1794&aid=179> - Fun Fact
4. “Bald Eagle Habitat” SeaKing Adventures. SeaKing Adventures, Inc. 1994. Web.
22 Mar. 2010. http://www.seaking.ca/bald_eagle_habitat.htm - Bald Eagle info
5. “House Sparrow (Passer Domesticus).” Living with Wildlife in Illinois. University
of Illinois Board of Trustees. 2010. Web. 22 Mar. 2010.
species=house_sparrow - House Sparrow info
6. Softpedia. SoftNews NET SRL, 2010. Web. 22 Mar. 2010.
http://www.softpedia.com/ - Used the search engine to find additional info about
some of the species.
7. “Bird and Human Relationships.” AnimalAqua.Com. AnimalAqua. 2008. Web. 22
Mar. 2010. http://www.animalaqua.com/bird-and-human-relationships-bird/ -
Human Interactions with Birds
8. “Birds: Ostrich.” San Diego Zoo. Zoological Society of San Diego. 2010. Web.
22 Mar. 2010. http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-ostrich.html - Ostrich
9. All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 2009. Web. 22 Mar. 2010.
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=1189 – Info about
all species except for the Ostrich
10. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 2010. Web. 22
Mar. 2010. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird - used general info about birds. We
have used more from wikipedia in the powerpoint itself than the handout.
11. http://www.fivedigits.net/pix/phun/ostrich_notamused.jpg - Ostrich picture; URL
was too long to put under the photo of the ostrich we have in the handout