Characteristics :

  • Have a backbone and a lightweight bone structure; some bones are hollow
  • Body covered with feathers and with scales on the legs; feathers are replaced once a year
  • Have a beak rather than teeth
  • Have wings
  • Have claws on toes
  • have well-developed lungs
  • Eggs contain a watery fluid called amnion and have hard shells; eggs are laid on land
  • Have a four-chambered hear
  • Are warm-blooded, or more appropriately, endothermic; they generate and maintain their own body heat
  • Portion of brain, such as those that control vision, movement, and coordination, are well developed
  • Kingdom: Animalia
    • ​Phylum: Chordata
      • Class: Aves
        • Order: Anseriformes (ducks, geese, swans), Apodiformes (swifts, hummingbirds), Bucerotiformes (hornbills, others), Caprimulgiformes (goatsuckers), Ciconiiformes (herons, ibises, storks, others), Charadriiformes (gulls, terns, shore birds), Coliiforms (mousebirds), Columbiformes (doves, pigeons), Coraciiformes (kingfishers, others), Cuculiformes (cuckoos, roadrunners), Falconiformes (buzzards, eagles, falcons, hawks, vultures), Galliformes (grouse, pheasants, turkeys, domestic fowl), Gaviiformes (loons, others), Gruiforms (cranes, rails, others), Musophagiformes (turacos), Passeriformes (perching birds, song birds), Pelecaniforms (cormorants, pelicans, others), Phoenicopteriformes (flamingos), Piciformes (woodpeckers, toucans, others), Podicipediformes (grebes), Procellariiformes (albatrosses, petrels, others), Psittaciformes (parakeets, parrots), Sphenisciformes (penguins), Strigiformes (owls), Trogoniformes (quetzal, others), Struthioniformes (ostrich, others), Tinamiformes (tinamous)
Student Challenge:
  • The common names of birds are often descriptive of behavior or coloration. Choose six birds featured on the AWAKE site and suggest a reasonable explanation for their common names.
  • Most birds are adapted for flight, but flight patterns may differ from one type of bird to another. Describe several different types of flight based on what you have learned from the AWAKE website about birds. What effect might habitat and diet have on flight adaptations?