Drawing showing the skeleton of a bird
Drawing showing the skeleton of a bird
 
 
All birds have beaks
All birds have beaks
 
 
Diagram showing the crop and gizzard of a bird
Diagram showing the crop and gizzard of a bird
 
 
Close-up of the tiny bee hummingbird
Close-up of the tiny bee hummingbird
 
 
Close-up of an ostrich foot
Close-up of an ostrich foot
 
 
A fossil of a pre-historic bird
A fossil of a pre-historic bird
 
 What is...bird?
Topic(s):   Birds, What is ...

A bird is a vertebrate. That means it has a backbone. A bird has feathers and wings. It has two legs.

A birds is like a mammal in some ways. It has a heart with four chambers. It is warm blooded. That means its body stays the same temperature no matter what it is like outside. A bird has no sweat glands. It has to cool off by panting. A bird needs to stay in shade when it gets too hot.

A bird is not like a mammal in other ways. It lays eggs with hard shells. It has a beak. A bird's bones are different, too. Its bones have air spaces in them. That makes the bones lighter. Light bones are important for a bird that fly.

A bird digests its food in a different way from a mammal. A bird may have a space in its throat called a crop. Food can be stored there for a short time. A bird has a gizzard. That is a special place in its stomach. It contains small stones the bird has swallowed. These stones help to grind up food. That is important because some birds eat very hard food.

The ostrich is the biggest living bird. It can grow to nine feet (nearly three meters) tall and weigh up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms). The smallest bird is the bee hummingbird. It is only about 2.5 inches (about 6.5 centimeters) long. It weighs about a tenth of an ounce (three grams).

Birds have a lot in common with certain dinosaurs. Many people think birds are modern, feathered dinosaurs.

Resource information

Bird Digestion. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2013, from http://www.backyardnature.net/birdguts.htm

BIRDNET: What is a bird? (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2013, from http://www.nmnh.si.edu/BIRDNET/birds/whatsabird.html

Ehrlich, P. R., Dobkin, D. S., & Wheye, D. (n.d.). Temperature Regulation and Behavior. Retrieved April 20, 2013, from http://www.stanford.edu/group/stanfordbirds/text/essays/Temperature_Regulation.html

Gill, F., Rand, A. L., & Storer, R. W. (n.d.). Bird (animal). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved April 20, 2013, from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/66391/bird

Hutchinson, J. R. (1998, January 22). Dinobuzz: Dinosaur-Bird Relationships. Retrieved from http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/diapsids/avians.html

Mayntz, M. (n.d.). What Is a Bird - Defining Characteristics of Birds. Retrieved April 20, 2013, from http://birding.about.com/od/Bird-Trivia/a/What-Is-A-Bird.htm

Skeleton. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2013, from http://www.fernbank.edu/Birding/skeleton.htm

Citation information

APA Style: What is a Bird?. (2014, March). Retrieved from Facts4Me at http://www.facts4me.com

MLA Style: "What is a Bird?." Facts4Me. Mar. 2014. http://www.facts4me.com.

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