The Bird: A Natural History of Who Birds Are, Where They Came From, and How They Live

By Colin Tudge

• How are birds so stable at flying and navigating?
• Why are birds so like mammals– and but so very various?
• Did birds descend from dinosaurs, and if that is so, does that suggest birds are dinosaurs?
• How do they courtroom one another and fend off rivals?
• What' s being communicated in birdsong?
• will we ever know the way birds think?

In this attention-grabbing exploration of the avian classification, Colin Tudge considers the creatures of the air. From their evolutionary roots to their flying, feeding, battling, mating, nesting, and speaking, Tudge provocatively ponders what birds really do–as good as why they do it and the way. With an analogous interest, ardour, and perception he delivered to redwoods, pines, and palm bushes in his broadly acclaimed ebook The Tree, Tudge the following reviews sparrows, parrots, or even the Monkey-eating Eagle to higher comprehend their world–and our own.

There is much extra to a bird's life than gliding gracefully on air currents or chirping sweetly from fence posts–the stakes are existence and demise. via gazing and explaining the complicated procedure that comes into play with every thing from migration to social interplay to the timing of giving delivery to younger, Tudge unearths how birds are uniquely built biologically to be successful and continue to exist. And he bargains an impassioned plea for people to profit to coexist with birds with out carrying on with to hazard their survival.

Complete with an "annotated forged checklist" of all of the recognized birds on this planet– plus beautiful illustrations–The Bird is a accomplished and delightfully obtainable consultant for everybody from committed birders to informal birdwatchers that celebrates and illuminates the extraordinary lives of birds.

From the Hardcover edition.

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They retain the doorway slim to repel intruders. The chicks actively repel intruders, too; they hiss, they spray excreta (compare the spitting of fulmars), they usually secrete a bad liquid like rotting meat from the preen gland—an workout in chemical weaponry. The relatives PHOENICULIDAE with its 8 species of woodhoopoes and scimitar-bills is one of the only a few fowl households endemic, or particular, to Africa. except their beaks—straight within the woodhoopoes right, curved within the scimitar-bills—the teams glance very alike. yet they behave in a different way: so much woodhoopoes are likely to assemble in small nuclear family flocks, noisy and cackling; the scimitar-bills, in contrast, are as a rule solitary. Their DNA unearths that during fact the 2 subgroups separated from their universal ancestor approximately 10 million years in the past, long ago within the Miocene—the nice age of coraciiforms. either teams hunt for bugs within the bark of timber, occasionally aiding themselves with either tail and wings as they clamber in the course of the small twigs. no longer many birds use their wings for mountaineering. Why now not? the most important coraciiforms are one of the fifty-four species of hornbills within the relatives BUCEROTIDAE. back, they're completely previous global. just below 1/2 the species reside in Africa whereas the opposite part are Asian, from the Arabian Peninsula east to New Guinea. they appear heavily concerning Hoopoes and woodhoopoes—I wish to give some thought to the Hoopoe as a miniature hornbill. It’s most likely that their universal ancestor was once African. Hornbills are named for the casque: the projection, usually large, that runs lengthwise alongside the pinnacle of the beak. in lots of the casque is an easy ridge, yet in a few it's cylindrical, or grew to become up on the finish, or folded, or inflated, and infrequently is larger than the beak itself. within the nice Hornbill of Asia within the genus Buceros, the casque has prongs on the entrance, whereas the casque of the Rhinoceros Hornbill, additionally Buceros, turns up on the finish. In men the casque is greater and in previous men larger still—it grows with age just like the tusks of elephants. In so much species the casque is like honeycomb within, powerful yet gentle. within the Black-casqued Hornbill of Africa and its relations within the genus Ceratogymna, the massive casque opens without delay within the mouth and so it seems that serves as an echo chamber, improving the decision (compare some of the gildings of the trachea which act as amplifiers in another birds). within the Helmeted Hornbill of Asia the casque is strong, and often called “hornbill ivory,” even though it truly is made up of keratin, like feathers, hair, and rhino horn—not dentine, just like the ivory of an elephant or a walrus. It debts for roughly 10 percentage of the bird’s bodyweight and is prized and elaborately carved by means of the neighborhood tribespeople, which isn't excellent news for the poultry. for his or her personal reasons, male Helmeted Hornbills use their gigantic beak equipment in midair battles for territory, like flying billy goats. extra mundanely, they might additionally use the casque to dig small animals from rotting wooden. yet in addition they feed on figs.

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