About 10 thousand species of birds live on Earth. One thing is for sure - birds can surprise.
Moreover, not always the most unusual species live in the tropical impenetrable jungle, there are amazing birds in the middle lane. So it is worth talking about the most outstanding representatives of this class in more detail.
Hummingbird bee. The smallest bird on the planet is the hummingbird. In this family, hummingbirds have the smallest sizes. These birds are 5 cm long, including the tail and beak. The hummingbird weighs 1.6 grams. Even an ostrich feather weighs more. However, in such a tiny body, the heart beats actively, making up to 500 beats per minute. The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backwards. Its wings make 90 beats per second, which leads to a slight buzz. Hummingbirds are lively and perky creatures that lead an active lifestyle. After all, this bird is also the most insatiable on the planet. She has such a fast metabolism that she has to drink more than a hundred times in 16 hours and eat food more than she herself weighs. The hummingbird feeds on nectar, and the larger species feed on insects.
Shiny quetzal. This species has chosen the cold mountain forests of southern Mexico and Panama. The length to the end of the tail of the quetzal is 35 cm, the same size is also the two long tail feathers. Such beauty is present in the male, whose tail is especially beautiful. From above, the bird looks bright green with a golden hue and a metallic sheen. The abdomen is crimson, and the tail is white at the bottom. But all this beauty disappears from the male with the end of the nesting season. Quetzal feeds on the fruits of ocotea, but does not disdain insects, frogs and lizards. This bird was sacred to the Aztecs and Mayans, it was considered the god of the air. Plumage has even been used in religious ceremonies. But with the deforestation of tropical forests, the existence of quetzal is threatened.
Helmet-billed kalao. This is a very rare bird species that can be found in the Malay Peninsula, as well as Sumatra and Borneo. Most of the bird's plumage is dark, light in color only at the abdomen, tips of feathers and legs. The kalao's beak is red. The long tail also has two central feathers noticeably larger than the rest. As a result, the total length of the bird reaches 160 cm, while the tail alone takes up a meter. Kalao belongs to the family of hornbills, a helmet grows from the base of the beak. However, unlike its counterparts, Kalao has a dense one. As a result, the bird's skull, together with its beak and helmet, weighs up to 10% of the total body weight. The main diet of kalao is fruits, usually figs. The helmet-billed kalao pays special attention to the territory in which the couple lives. Males even fight for their area, hitting with their helmets. This growth is used by the local population for handicrafts; feathers are used to decorate clothes and make hats from them.
Hoopoe. And this bird can be found in our latitudes. Hoopoes have long been known to man, they are mentioned in the Bible and the Koran. It is generally accepted that bright plumage is a property of only tropical birds. But the hoopoe also boasts a beautiful color. A tuft stands out on his body, which can open in case of danger or surprise with a fan. Usually this bird lives in an open area, it is cautious, but not fearful. The length of the bird is 25-29 cm, and its wingspan is twice as large. Hoopoes have striped black and white plumage of the wings and tail. In this case, the head, neck and chest may have a different color depending on the subspecies. Hoopoes feed on small insects, looking for them in the ground, wood or manure. It is interesting that the bird's tongue is short, so it is forced to throw its prey into the air, catch and swallow. The wings of a hoopoe are similar in structure to a butterfly; as a result, flights become similar.
Goatzin. This bird is quite large, its length is about 60 cm. It is distributed in the humid forests of the Amazon, as well as in the Orinoco Delta. The plumage is unusual. Top it is olive with yellow streaks. Below the body is reddish, and the head is generally blue. The hoatzin has a long neck, but the head itself is small relative to the whole body. It also has a tuft of narrow feathers. Goatzin chicks are interesting in that they develop claws on two wing fingers, with the help of which they cling to branches and can even climb on them. This property is the legacy of the first birds, who climbed trees. In adults, the claws disappear. Hoatins feed on plant food, which is digested through fermentation. Therefore, the bird has a dung smell like ruminants. Goatzin meat is inedible, that's why the bird was called "stinky". But the beautiful appearance of the bird made it the national symbol of Guyana, it is on the country's coat of arms.
Sri Lankan frogmouth. These secretive birds live in southwest India and Sri Lanka, which is what gave them their name. The frogmouth lives in the very depths of the rainforest, so it's hard to see it. In addition, the color prevents them from being detected - the plumage of the frogmouth resembles dry leaves. But depending on the gender, the color also changes. Males are gray and females are brown. These birds have a large slit of the mouth, they feed on insects, small animals and frogs. At the same time, they get food not on the fly, but collecting it on the substrate. The beak is triangular, large and hooked. These birds build their nests on trees in the form of horizontal platforms.
Amazon parrots. The ability to imitate the human voice is inherent in several species of birds. In this series, bright and sociable Amazonian parrots stand out. There are 26 species in this genus. Amazons are large birds, the size of a crow. They have a moderately round beak and bright tropical coloration. The ability to mimic voices is best only in African gray parrots. But we also appreciate birds for their individuality. Amazons quickly get used to people and unfamiliar surroundings, their nature is kind and obedient. These parrots behave well in the apartment. Birds can pronounce dozens of words, some individuals imitate other sounds - meow, bark, sounds of household appliances. Even in the presence of other people, these parrots can chat without hesitation to interfere with someone else's speech. Thus, they attract attention to themselves.
Hatchet. It turns out that birds can fly not only in the air. This bird of the aubergine family can do this in water. The family itself is quite ancient, the known fossils of representatives are 15 million years old. Outwardly, auks resemble penguins, but they have no relationship with them. Hatchets can swim perfectly, for which they use their wings. They row them in the water, reaching impressive depths of 100 meters. In this unusual way, birds seek food for themselves - marine invertebrates and small fish. But even in the air, hatchets feel great, a hard takeoff is just the beginning to a high flight. The hatchets themselves are of medium size - their body length is about 40 cm, and they weigh up to 800 grams. Birds live in colonies on the North Pacific coast. They are hunted for their eggs and meat.
Blackbird flycatchers. Poisonous insects surprise no one, but poisonous birds? Then it is worth getting to know the blackbird flycatchers better. This passerine genus belongs to the family of Australian whistlers. In Latin, their scientific name sounds like pitohu. These birds are light colored and live in the forests of New Guinea. And the skin of a flycatcher, almost all internal organs and feathers are poisonous. They contain batrachotoxin, which is also produced by frogs from the genus leaf crawlers. This substance is 100 times stronger than strychnine. A person will get burned, but rabbits, mice, frogs quickly die. As a result, the batrachotoxin contained in one bird is enough to kill 8 thousand mice. Nature has made birds poisonous to protect them from predators. And flycatchers got this property thanks to their food - special beetles that allow the toxin to accumulate in the body. How the pito manages to avoid self-poisoning remains a mystery. As a result, the birds got a bright orange color, like leaf climbers. Nature seems to warn the predator about the danger of its potential prey.
Flamingo. This bird is famous for its beautiful pink or red color. Only now it does not appear from birth, but due to special nutrition. The birds owe their color to the coloring matter lipochrome. Flamingos eat worms, molluscs and larvae, and most importantly, small crustaceans, which contain a carotenoid. This substance gives color to tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. He also paints flamingos. It is interesting that in zoos the bird is specially fed with products with carotene - pepper, carrots, the same crustaceans. Flamingos are also known for their ability to stand on one leg, like other long-legged birds. It turns out that this position is adopted by birds on purpose to reduce heat loss in strong winds. While one leg serves for support, the other heats up in plumage. Then the legs are swapped. Although it seems to us that it is uncomfortable to stand in the water like this, the flamingos themselves do not feel discomfort from this. The physiology of the body is such that the supporting leg is able to remain extended even without muscle tension. In its family, the flamingo is the largest and most widespread, reaching a height of 130 cm. The birds are quite unpretentious, living in large colonies on the banks of water bodies. At the same time, even very salty or alkaline lakes, where even fish do not live, are suitable for them. The ability to tolerate large changes in temperature has led to the spread of flamingos around the world.