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To what kingdom, phylum, and class do birds belong?
Kingdom Animalia, phylum chordata and class aves
Approximately how many living species of birds are there today?
How many families are these living species divided into?
160 different families
There were many more types of birds in the past. How many species of birds to paleontologists estimate have become extinct since the Jurassic Period?
More than 100,000 species of birds
Give four characteristics of birds
endothermic, feathers, two legs used for walking, and wings
Describe the three different types of feathers and include their function
Contour: cover the body and wings of a bird
Down: short, fluffy feathers that trap heat close to a bird's body (insulation)
Powder: help to repel water as the bird preens and releases powder from specialized
glands near where the feather attaches to the body
What was the first fossil ever found that represented an early birdlike animal?
Explain two characteristics of this fossil that are similar to that of reptiles
Claws and sharp teeth in the beak
Explain two characteristics of this fossil that are similar to that of birds
Wings/feathers and a beak
Explain why birds need to eat large amounts of food
They have a very high metabolism, so they need to eat a lot of calories in order to
maintain their normal bodily functions
What is the function of the crop?
What is the function of the gizzard?
Grinds up food
Describe beak structure in two specific species of birds and relate the beak structure to what the bird eats.
Pelicans have a large paddle/scoop beak for picking up water and fish from the ocean.
Hummingbirds have a very small and thin beak with a proboscis to suck up nectar.
The respiratory system of birds is extremely efficient. Explain what structure(s) allow for this efficiency. How is this system more efficient than that of humans?
They have air sacs as well as lungs. Because of this, they can get oxygen from the air
when they inhale and when they exhale!
How many chambers are in a typical bird heart? What are these chambers?
Four. They have two atria and two ventricles.
Do birds have a double-loop or single-loop circulation? Explain how it works.
Double loop! Deoxygenated blood leaves the heart and goes to the lungs to pick up oxygen. Oxygenated blood returns to the heart and then gets transported to the rest of the body.
Explain how excretion in birds is different than that of reptiles.
Birds reabsorb the water in their urine so it turns into a paste composed of uric acid
Bird species that live far from shore or on small islands surrounded by sea water have no source of fresh water. Their diets contain larger amounts of salt than they need. How do these species combat this problem?
These species of birds have salt glands that operate like a special pair of kidneys except,
instead of filtering nitrogen-containing waste, the filter salt from the blood stream.
Explain several sensory adaptations found in birds
They have a great sense of sight and have a sixth sense that allows them to navigate
using the Earth's magnetic field
The sense of sight is very keen in birds. Explain how this is reflected in the structure of the brain.
Their optic lobe is very large.
The senses of taste and smell in a bird are not well developed. Explain how this is reflected in the structure of the brain.
Their olfactory lobe is not very large.
Explain how a magnetic sense is important for migratory birds.
Their magnetic sense operates like a built-in compass
Explain how a bird's skeleton is adapted for flight.
Their bones are hollow so they have less weight to carry and the muscles that allow
flight are attached directly to the breastbone
Explain reproduction in birds.
Birds use internal fertilization. They press their cloacas together and that allows for the
transfer of sperm from male to female.
How does a chick get out of the egg when ready to hatch?
They use their egg tooth to make a hole in the shell
Explain some courtship behaviors in birds.
Males must be showy because females are choosy (it takes a lot of energy to lay eggs).
Some males have pretty colors, interesting mating calls, or dances.
How does parental care differ in birds, as compared to the reptiles?
Birds have a greater sense of parental care than reptiles because they have a larger
cerebrum. Nest building, courtship behaviors, and parental care are all more advanced
in birds when compared to reptiles.
Give four reasons why birds are important in the world today.
Birds are important pollinators. Birds are a good source of food. Birds help to control
insect populations. Birds are a source of income as they are sold for meat.
Explain the difference between white and dark meat. How is this difference based on the birds' movements?
White meat is meat that comes from muscles seldom used by the bird, including the
breast and wing. White meat, therefore, is most nutritious. Dark meat is coming from
muscle that is frequently used by domestic birds, the leg and the thigh. These muscles
are not as nutritious because the fibers are broken down from animal use.
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