Diversity of birds: names, descriptions, habitats

Diversity of birds: names, descriptions, habitats
Diversity of birds: names, descriptions, habitats

In our article we want to talk about the extraordinary diversity of birds on Earth. Depending on the classification, there are from 9800 to 10050 modern bird species. If you think about it, this is an impressive figure.

Origin of birds

Modern science believes that birds evolved from ancient reptiles. This is indicated by some common structural features with reptiles: dry skin, feathers, like reptile scales, the similarity of embryos, eggs.

I must say that already in the Jurassic period there was an intermediate form between birds and reptiles called Archeopteryx. And at the end of the Mesozoic, real birds appeared. Modern birds have characteristic progressive features that distinguish them from reptiles. These are developed organs of hearing, vision, coordination of movements with certain centers in the cerebral cortex, the occurrence of warm-bloodedness as a result of changes in the nervous and respiratory systems, the presence of a four-chambered heart and spongy lungs.

Variety of birds

Now the bird world is very diverse. It is customary to divide all birds into three superorders:

bird world
  1. Kittleless. Most of the representatives of thisgroups have poorly developed wings. Such birds do not fly, but they can run fast and well. A striking example is the African ostrich, which lives in the savannas, semi-deserts and steppes of Africa, in Australia and South America.
  2. Penguins. This group is very small. Its representatives live mainly in the southern hemisphere on the shores of Antarctica. These birds also cannot fly, but they are excellent swimmers. Their forelimbs are modified into flippers. On the ice, penguins move in an upright position, sliding and leaning on their tail. An interesting fact is that they do not build nests. They store the egg on the membranes of the limbs, hiding them under the folds of fat on the tummy. In general, a large fat layer protects penguins from the cold.
  3. Kelevye. This group is very numerous. It includes more than twenty units. These are passeriformes, hens, anseriformes, falconiformes, woodpeckers, etc.

As part of the article, we want to show the diversity of birds using specific examples of some representatives of the feathered world, since it is simply impossible to talk about all of them.


The African ostrich is the largest bird on Earth. Previously, they also included other related species, rhea and emu. However, modern researchers classify them as separate orders. Therefore, from a scientific point of view, there is now only one real ostrich - African.

variety of birds

The first thing that surprises in a bird is its huge size. In height, it is not less than a large horse. The height of an ostrich ranges from 1.8 to 2.7 meters, and the weight reaches75 kg. There are also such large males that weigh up to 131 kilograms. Naturally, most of the growth falls on the neck and legs. And the head of a bird, on the contrary, is very small, the brain of an ostrich is even smaller, which is reflected in the intelligence of birds.

Feathers in birds grow evenly throughout the body, but in most birds they are arranged along special lines called pterylia. African ostriches do not have a keel, and therefore they are generally not adapted to flight. But their legs are great for running. The bird has very long legs and highly developed leg muscles. Each foot has only two toes. One huge with a claw, the other smaller. The second finger helps you keep your balance while running.

There are a lot of feathers on the body, tail and wings of the bird, but the head, neck and legs have only short fluff, it seems that they are naked. Females and males of the African ostrich differ in the color of their plumage. In addition, different species may have different paw and beak colors.

African ostrich habitat

The African ostrich lives almost all over Africa, it cannot be found only in the Sahara and North Africa. There was also a time when this bird lived on the lands adjacent to the African continent, in Syria and on the Arabian Peninsula.

White bird

In general, ostriches prefer open plains. They inhabit dry woodlands, grassy savannahs, semi-deserts. But dense thickets, swampy terrain, quicksand deserts are not to their liking. This is because they are not therecan develop high speed while running. They lead a settled way of life, uniting in small groups. Very rarely, a flock can include up to 50 individuals, and they can graze along with antelopes and zebras. There is no constancy in the pack, but a clear hierarchy reigns. High-ranking individuals hold the tail and neck vertically, while weaker representatives hold it obliquely. Birds are active at dusk, and rest at night and during the heat of the day.

Ostriches are stupid on the one hand, and extremely cautious on the other. While eating, they constantly look around, examining the surroundings. Noticing the enemy, they quickly move away, not wanting to face a predator. They have very good eyesight. They can see the enemy from a kilometer away. Many animals follow the behavior of an ostrich if they themselves do not have such good eyesight. The ostrich is capable of reaching speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour, and in very rare cases up to 90 kilometers per hour.


Speaking about the variety of birds on the planet, let's move on from the largest representative to one of the smallest - to the sparrow. For us, such a bird is familiar from childhood. Sparrow is a bird that is widespread in cities and towns. It is small in size, weighing from 20 to 35 grams. The bird is included in the order of passeriformes, in which, in addition to it, there are more than 5000 species. The largest representative of this group is the raven, and the smallest is the kinglet.

birds of the forest

Sparrow is a bird that got its name in ancient times. And it is connected with the fact that birds are very fond of making raids.to farm fields. Driving them away, people shouted “hit the thief.”

There are two types of sparrows in Russia: brownie (urban) and rural. An interesting fact is that this species of birds has a special eye structure, and these birds see the whole world in pink. During the day, the sparrow consumes a significant amount of energy, and therefore cannot starve for more than two days.

House Sparrow

Birds have brown plumage with longitudinal black stripes. In length, they do not exceed seventeen centimeters, and weigh no more than 35 grams. Imagine, the world of birds is so diverse and rich that there are more than 16 species of the house sparrow alone. Once this bird lived only in Northern Europe. But then, gradually, sparrows settled on almost all continents, except for the Arctic. Now they can be seen even in South Africa, America, Australia, where they were brought at the beginning of the twentieth century.

hummingbird bee

It should be noted that sparrows always settle near a person, and lead a sedentary existence. And only birds living in more northern regions fly to warmer climes for the winter.

Sparrows are the eternal companions of man. They are highly prolific. The basis of their diet is plant foods. But birds catch insects for their chicks. In villages, birds fly to the fields to pick up grains there. Sometimes sparrows peck fruits and berries in orchards, causing damage to people.

In one summer two or even three generations of offspring can be bred.


Stork is an unusual bird. She has long beensymbol of peace on earth. The white bird is so beautiful and graceful that many songs and poems have been composed about it. The stork family is represented by twelve species. These are fairly large individuals. As an adult, they reach a meter in height, and a wingspan of two meters. All storks have long legs, a neck and a beak.

They are distributed on almost all continents. They live not only in the tropics, but also in temperate latitudes. Those individuals that live in a warm climate do not fly away for the winter, while the rest fly to Africa and India. Birds live up to twenty years.

African ostrich

The most famous species is the white stork. Birds have been living on Earth since ancient times, as evidenced by the finds of archaeologists. This species is considered practically mute, as it has no vocal cords at all.

Storks are famous for their endurance, as they are able to make very long flights.

The lifestyle and nutrition of the bird depends on the habitat. The white stork prefers low-lying places with meadows and swamps. Sometimes they settle on the roofs of houses, making nests there. They feed on food of animal origin: lizards, frogs, insects, small mice. The stork is a beautiful and noble bird.


The swan is a white bird that conquered everyone with its beauty and grandeur. A small group of famous birds includes 7 species. In general, swans belong to the duck family, and their closest relatives are goose and geese.

Swans are the largest waterfowl wild birds. The weightreaches eight kilograms. Birds have a very long and flexible neck, and each species is characterized by its special setting. The legs of birds are quite short and equipped with special swimming membranes. On land, their gait seems very clumsy. The oil gland of birds secretes a special lubricant, thanks to which feathers do not get wet in water.

All swans have the same coloring - white, and only the black swan differs from them.

They live in South and North America, Eurasia and Australia. They usually settle on the banks of water bodies, and these can be both small lakes and huge bodies of water, like estuaries or bays.

All swans can be conditionally divided into southern and northern. The southern ones lead a settled life, while the northern ones have to fly away for the winter. Eurasian individuals winter in South and Central Asia, while Americans spend winter time in California and Florida.

Birds usually live in pairs. They have a quiet and calm disposition. The voices of birds are quite sonorous, but they make sounds very rarely, but the mute swan can only hiss in case of danger.

Birds feed on buds, seeds, roots of aquatic plants, grass and small aquatic invertebrates. They find food in the water, deep immersing their heads. But birds can't dive.

Hummingbird Bee

We talked about the African ostrich being the biggest bird. And the smallest is the bee hummingbird. This Cuban bird is not only the smallest in the world, but also the smallest warm-blooded creature on Earth. The male is no more than fivecentimeters, and by weight no heavier than two paper clips. But the females are slightly larger. The name itself suggests that these birds themselves are no bigger than a bee.

wild birds

The smallest bird is a very fast and strong creature. Shiny wings make her look like a gem. However, its multi-colored color is not always visible, it all depends on the viewing angle.

Despite its tiny size, the bird plays an important role in plant reproduction. She flies from flower to flower and collects nectar with her thin proboscis, while at the same time transferring pollen from flower to flower. In one day, a small bee visits up to one and a half thousand flowers.

Hummingbirds build cup-shaped nests for themselves no more than 2.5 centimeters in diameter. They weave from bark, lichens and cobwebs. In them, the bird lays two small eggs the size of a pea.

Forest birds

Here, where you can appreciate the real diversity of birds, is in the forest. After all, it is home to many birds. At any time of the year you can find an extraordinary number of them here. Here wild birds build their nests, find their own food and hatch their chicks. Dense greenery reliably protects birds from enemies and bad weather. Walking through the forest, you can hear a variety of bird voices, we don’t see them, but we hear their beautiful singing or “cuckoo” familiar from childhood.

bird voices

What kind of birds live in our forests? The world of birds in them is so rich that it is difficult to count all the species. Let us recall only the most famous: hazel grouse,woodpeckers, nutcrackers, swifts, owls, nightingales, black grouse, owls, cuckoos, golden eagles, lentils, nutcrackers, kinglets, flycatchers, tits, hawks, crossbills, siskins and many others. Birds of the forest have adapted to living in forest thickets. Each of the species lives in certain areas of the country, in places characteristic of itself. An interesting fact is that absolutely all the birds of the forest get along on the same territory, and among them there are formidable predators, and completely harmless, and very small birds. Just an amazing combination.

Common Kingfisher

The common kingfisher is a small bird with bright feathers. The color of the plumage changes from a dark blue back to a bright orange belly. The beak of the kingfisher is the most common: long and straight. The females are smaller than the males. Birds settle along the coast of rivers, ponds, lakes, streams. In general, in places where there is still, running water.

But nests are built on steep banks among thickets of bushes. Kingfishers feel quite well in the mountains, sometimes settling there.

Bird pairs unite only during the mating season. On the territory of Russia - this is approximately the second half of April, just after returning from warm countries. Females and males tear out nests with their beaks, discarding soil with their paws. The mink is usually located near the water and is well camouflaged with branches.

It is surprising that kingfishers return to their house for several seasons. There is no nest as such inside, eggs are laid directly on the ground. Rarely is there any litter present. Usually the female lays five to seveneggs, and sometimes ten. Hatching in turn, replacing each other, female and male.

sparrow bird

Among kingfishers there are both migratory and sedentary populations. They are distributed in Eurasia, in Indonesia and in northwestern Africa, in New Zealand.

Kingfishers settle only near clean water bodies, so they can be used to judge their degree of purity.

On the example of the given birds, one can judge their diversity. All of them differ from each other not only in appearance, but also in their way of life and habits, nevertheless, they all belong to the same suborder.

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