BIRDS                            Name _____________________ Period ______

Birds are the only type of animals with feathers. Birds are warm-blooded, and most of them can fly. All birds have two wings even for the species that cannot fly, such as ostriches, kiwis, and penguins. Birds do not have teeth. Instead, they have beaks. Birds lay eggs. Most birds build nests for their eggs, and they sit on their eggs during incubation. Emperor penguins, however, do not. A mother emperor penguin lays only one egg. Her husband is in charge of incubation by holding the single egg on top of his feet under a fold of skin. There are more than 9000 different kinds of birds. Many people mistakenly think bats are birds. They are not! Bats are mammals. Eagles, puffins, and flamingos all belong to the family of birds.
      Do birds fly simply because they have wings and feathers? No! Unique bone structure, feathers, and wings are what make birds fly. Birds have hollow, lightweight bones, and they have strong chest muscles to pull their wings up and down. Feathers are important in flight. There are three types of feathers: down feathers, body feathers, and flight feathers.
      Down feathers are next to a bird's skin. They are small, fluffy and keep birds warm. Check your sleeping bags! A lot of them have down feathers inside to keep us warm at night. Body feathers are on top of down feathers. They are sometimes called contour feathers. Body feathers give a bird a streamlined shape. Flight feathers are strong, stiff and are on a bird's wings and tail. They help a bird fly.
     Wings are the third factor that makes a bird fly. Shapes of wings affect a bird's flight style. Seabirds, such as albatrosses, have long, narrow pointed wings. Their wings permit them to glide long distances over the ocean and soar effortlessly over windswept ocean surfaces. Many forest birds like pheasants have short rounded wings. Such wings give them good flight control for quick, sharp turns among trees, and also allow them rapid takeoffs and short glides. Eagles and vultures have long, broad wings that provide excellent lift on rising air currents.
      Some birds fly back and forth across the world each year. This is called migration. There are three main reasons for birds to migrate: to find food, to breed, or to avoid weather too hot or too cold for them. For example, Atlantic puffins live on the open ocean and return to their colonies on seacoasts and rocky islands from April to mid-August to breed. How do migrating birds find their way? Scientists think that migrating birds use the positions of the sun during the day and the stars at night to find their way. Migrating birds may also rely on earth's magnetic field or follow familiar landmarks so they can be on the same routes every year. The Arctic tern travels the longest distance among all migrating birds. In the late summer, Arctic terns leave the Arctic Ocean and fly to Antarctica. They will fly back to the Arctic Ocean in the spring. Each year, they accomplish a remarkable roundtrip journey of over 20,000 miles!


1.   What do birds have that other animals don't?
  Two legs
2.   Which of the following statements about birds is true?
  Emperor penguins build nests and put their eggs there.
  Eagles have short rounded wings.
  The Arctic tern travels the longest distance among all migrating birds.
  Bats are birds.
3.   Feathers and wings are the only two things that make a bird fly.
4.   Ostriches cannot fly even though they have wings.
5.   Which of the following statements about feathers is true?
  Flight feathers are found on a bird's wings only.
  Down feathers are sometimes called contour feathers.
  Body feathers give a bird a streamlined shape.
  Body feathers are next to a bird's skin.
6.   Which of the following statements about birds is true?
  Birds are cold-blooded animals.
  Birds lay eggs surrounded by a jelly-like substance.
  Eagles have long, broad wings.
  Pheasants have long, narrow wings.
7.   Which of the following animals are not birds?
  Atlantic puffin
8.   There are _________ species of birds


14 5 3
6 11
4 1

cuckoo puffin hummingbird ostrich
oriole sparrow penguin eagle
pelican dove duck swan
turkey kiwi woodpecker owl


2. The male of this bird has a golden orange feathers with black markings on his head, throat, shoulders, wings, and tails. This bird is Maryland's state bird.
3. This bird is often seen gliding gracefully on lakes or rivers. It uses its long neck to reach deep below the surface to get food. It is related to geese and ducks. Most of them have feathers that are only white.
8. This bird is possibly the laziest parent in the whole family of birds! The female of this bird lays an egg in another bird's nest. When her baby hatches, it pushes other eggs out of the nest!
9.  This bird is among one of the smallest birds in the world. It has a long, slender bill, and it mainly feeds on nectar. This bird beats its wings really fast - some can flap their wings up to 200 times a second!
10. This large bird is an excellent hunter! When it spots small animals from high up in the sky, it swoops down, spreads out its large, strong feet with sharp claws, and grabs the prey. This bird has a sharp, hooked bill perfect for tearing up prey. It is related to hawks and vultures.
11. This bird is related to pigeons. It has a small head, short neck, plump body, and a pair of short legs. This bird has a unique way of drinking water - they dip their beaks and suck water without raising their heads. This bird's white feathers are a symbol of peace.
12. This large bird is found only in America. It does not have feathers covering its head and neck. The male of this bird has a long wattle at the base of his bill and additional wattles on his neck. People in the United States cook this bird on Thanksgiving.
13. Found only in New Zealand, this little bird cannot fly. It hides underground during the day and only comes out to look for food at night. The nostrils are on the tip of this bird's long beak. A greenish fruit has the same name as this bird.
14. This bird hunts small animals, such as mice, at night. It has a pair of large eyes that can see well in the dark. This bird can turn its head almost all the way around to see what is behind it.
15. This large bird lives in the north during the summer months and flies south in the fall. It returns to its summer home in the spring. This bird travels in a large group, forming a shape that looks like the letter V.


1. This small seabird has black feathers covering its entire body except for its white belly. It has a large, colorful beak. It lives in a cool climate. It spends most of its life living on the open ocean. It returns to land once a year to breed. Most birds use their webbed feet to swim. This bird, however, flaps its wings to push it along under the water, as if it is flying. This bird is Iceland's national bird.
2. This is the world's largest bird. It cannot fly. Because it is flightless, it relies on its two long, strong legs to run away from an enemy.
3. This small brownish bird is everywhere! We often see this bird picking up small bits of food, such as bread discarded by people.
4. This bird has wings, but it cannot fly. Most of them live in cold places near Antarctica. Although it looks clumsy on ice, it is an excellent swimmer! This bird feeds on fish.
5. This bird has a long, large beak. The lower part of its beak can be stretched to a pouch. When this bird dives into the water, it uses its beak like a fishnet to scoop up fish.
6. This bird lives on lakes or rivers, and it is in the family of waterfowls. Other family members include swans and geese. This bird differs from its other family members by its shorter neck and legs.
7. This bird uses its beak to "drill" a hole on tree trunks so it can eat small insects hiding beneath the bark.