18 Amazing Facts About Birds | Love The Garden

18 Amazing Facts About Birds

LifeofRyrie's picture
By Sarah Ryrie, Gardening Enthusiast
Kingfisher diving into water close up

Birds: singing in the still of the afternoon, glimpsing a cherry red breast as a Robin scoots across the garden, the irritation of seagulls descending on your beachfront picnic and laughing at the animated rather cross variety (you know the ones we mean).  With over 10,000 different bird species in the world (not including the animated ones) our lives are continually touched by these awesome creatures.  They are the only animal with the superpower that we all wish we had - the ability to fly.

What else do we know about this winged wildlife?

Here Are Our 18 Amazing Facts About Birds

1. A Flamingo..... 

can eat only when its head is upside down.

Flamingos head under water

2. Birds originally descended from reptiles......

The Archaeopteryx is the earliest known bird which lived approximately 147 million years ago.  This bird was so different to todays birds, as not only did it have a long bony tail, it also had teeth!

Blue feathered archaeopteryx

3. The Robin.......

Was voted the UK’s most popular wild bird in 2015

Robin sat on branch close up

4. The largest living bird in the world is.....

The Ostrich, which can reach a height of up to 2.7 metres with a wingspan of up to 2 metres (fairly impressive for a bird that can’t fly).  It will come as no surprise that the Ostrich also lays the largest bird eggs, weighing in at up to 1.5 kilograms

Ostrich standing guard over nest of eggs

5. The smallest living bird in the world is.......

The Hummingbird, specifically the Bee Hummingbird, which measures a minute 5.5 centimetres long and weighs no more than 1.9 grams. Another fact about this bird, it also lays the smallest eggs, which are pea-sized

The smallest bird the Bee Hummingbird

6. Brown or White..... 

A chicken with red earlobes will produce brown eggs, and a chicken with white earlobes will produce white eggs.

Brown and white chicken eggs in a basket

7. Beats per minute.....

A bird's heart beats 400 times per minute while resting and up to 1000 beats per minute while flying.

Bird group flying in a heart shape

8. The only known poisonous bird in the world is.....

The Hooded Pitohui of Papua, New Guinea. The poison is found in its skin and feathers.

The Hooded Pitohui, sat on a branch

9. Pigeons were the radios of the World Wars..... 

With man made communication methods being unreliable and basic it fell to the humble pigeon to transport thousands of messages from the battle lines at the front.  Over 300,000 pigeons were used during both World Wars with 32 being awarded The Dickin Medal - the animal world’s Victoria Cross

Soldier from World War with a carrier pigeon

10. How High.....

Penguins can jump as high as 6 feet in the air

Penguin jumping high out of water

11.  The Fastest bird on Earth is.....

The Peregrine Falcon, when in its hunting dive can reach a Maximum Recorded Airspeed of 389 k/h (242 mph) .

The fastest bird when in a level flight, is the common Swift which has a Maximum Recorded Airspeed of 169 km/h (105 mph)

Peregrine Falcon in flight close up

12. Flying asleep.....

An albatross can sleep while it flies. It apparently dozes while cruising at 25 mph

Albatross, close up of it flying from underneath

13. The most talkative bird in the world is.....

The African Gray Parrot. One parrot could say over 800 words. Most species of parrots can learn only 50.

African Grey Parrot, close up

14 .The rarest bird in the world is.....

A duck called the Madagascar Pochard, it is estimated only 25 of these remain in the wild.

The most common is the domestic chicken.

Madagascar pochard duck close up

15. Owls cannot move their eyes.....

As thier eyeballs that are tubular in shape, because of this they are able to rotate their head 270° which is still further than any other animal.  By swivelling its head round 270° it allows the Owl to achieve 360° vision.

3 single shots of barn owl turning it's head round

16. Puffin Power.....

Puffins can fly underwater

Puffin flying underwater

17. Hammer Time.....

A woodpecker can peck twenty times a second. 

Woodpecker pecking a tree

18. Quack Quack.....

A duck's quack doesn't echo anywhere, and no one knows why.

Mallard duck quacking, while swimming


How many birds can you spot from your window?


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