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Bird Skeletons

Bird Skeletons

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Click on the head of the animal you would like to learn more about:

Audubon's shearwater
Audubon's shearwater
Puffinus lherminieri
  • Geographic Range: Throughout the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, north west and central Pacific, Caribbean, and eastern Atlantic Ocean
  • Habitat: Rocky outcrops and earthy slopes on atolls and islets
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: Only juveniles of this colonial species migrate before their first breeding season. Once reaching a new territory, adults live in large groups and nest in small burrows near open water.

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Belted kingfisher
Belted kingfisher
Megaceryle alcyon
  • Geographic Range: Throughout North America, Central America, the Wet Indies, and northern South America
  • Habitat: Inland bodies of water such as lakes and rivers
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: Unlike many songbirds, the females of this species are more colorful than the males. Belted Kingfishers make their nests by burrowing into river or sand banks and both males and females participate in parental care. In 1986 this species was added to the $5 note in Canada.

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Brown pelican
Brown pelican
Pelecanus occidentalis
  • Geographic Range: Found along both coasts of North America, Central America, and South America
  • Habitat: Marine coastal areas and mangrove swamps
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: Brown Pelicans forage by diving bill first into the water, similar to kingfishers. However, before swallowing their prey, these birds empty the salt water from their throat pouch. This species has a prominent role in many cultures and is the national bird of Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is also the state bird of Louisiana.

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Chilean flamingo
Chilean flamingo
Phoenicopterus chilensis
  • Geographic Range: South America from Ecuador and Peru to Chile and Argentina and east to Brazil
  • Habitat: Coastal mudflats, estuaries, lagoons, and salt water lakes
  • Conservation Status: Near threatened
  • Fun Facts: The Chilean Flamingo can be distinguished from the Greater Flamingo and Caribbean Flamingo by having grey legs with pink joints. Both males and females of this species can produce "crop milk" to feed their young.

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Chuck-wills-widow
Chuck-wills-widow
Antrostomus carolinensis
  • Geographic Range: Southeastern United States, throughout the West Indies and Central American, and in northwestern South America
  • Habitat: Swamps, rocky uplands, and pine woods
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: The Chuck-will's-widow is the largest nightjar in North America and its orange eyeshine can often be seen on the side of roadways at night, starting at dusk.

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Common grackle
Common grackle
Quiscalus quiscula
  • Geographic Range: Found throughout eastern North America
  • Habitat: Open and semi-open areas such as pine forests
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: Similar to other grackle species, the Common Grackle is know to use "anting" behaviour, in which the bird rubs ants on its wings. There are many ideas of why birds do this, but the most common seems to be for using the formic acid in the ants as an insecticide.

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Common loon
Common loon
Gavia immer
  • Geographic Range: The Common Loon breeds in northern parts of North America and spends winter months on the sea coasts across most of North American and Europe
  • Habitat: During the breeding season, this species inhabits the shores of deep lakes in coniferous forests or open tundra. Over the winter months they inhabit rocky shores that boarder shallow inshore waters.
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: Common Loons make deep dives searching for food and can remain underwater for up to five minutes. To aid in reducing their buoyancy, this species has solid bones instead of hollow bones like many other birds. Additionally, adults moult their flight feathers each winter, and in combination with their bone density, this makes them temporarily flightless!

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Common snipe
Common snipe
Gallinago gallinago
  • Geographic Range: Widely distributed in Europe and Asia
  • Habitat: marshes, bogs, tundra, and wet meadows
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: While this species is well camouflaged and prefers to stay concealed in ground vegetation, when startled the Common Snipe sounds a loud "scape, scape" cry and flyes of in a zig-zag pattern to confuse any potential predators

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Eastern screech owl
Eastern screech owl
Megascops asio
  • Geographic Range: Eastern North America from Mexico to Canada
  • Habitat: Open mixed woodlands, deciduous forests, parklands and wooded suburban areas
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: This tiny owl is common in suburban areas east of the Rocky Mountains. Despite their name, their call is said to sound more like whinnies and soft trills instead of screeches.

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Great blue heron
Great blue heron
Ardea herodias
  • Geographic Range: North American and Central America
  • Habitat: Salt and freshwater habitats including marshes, riverbanks, lakes, and open coasts
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: The all white morph found in the Caribbean and southern Florida is commonly referred to as the Great White Heron, but they are actually the same species!

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Green-winged teal
Green-winged teal
Anas crecca carolinensis
  • Geographic Range: Widely distributed throughout North America and Europe
  • Habitat: Marshes, rivers, and bays
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: The smallest dabbling duck in North America has caused many classification arguments among bird taxonomists. North American and European populations were previously considered separate species and currently there is a debate concerning if there is a difference between the Green-winged Teal and the Common Teal.

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Lovebird
Lovebird
Agapornis sp
  • Geographic Range: Mainland Africa and Madagascar
  • Habitat: Dry open habitats such as woodlands and the outer limits of deserts
  • Conservation Status: Of the nine species, Black-headed Lovebirds are listed as vulnerable; Fisher's Lovebirds and Lilian's Lovebirds are listed as near threatened; the remaining six species are listed as Least concern
  • Fun Facts: The nine species in this genus all show an inclination to form both intraspecific and interspecific bonds, which explains their common appearance in the pet trade

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Mourning dove
Mourning dove
Zenaida macroura
  • Geographic Range: Found throughout North America, Central America, and the Greater Antilles
  • Habitat: Open habitats including fields, patches of bare ground, high perches including telephone poles and wires.
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: Commonly seen perching on power lines, this species gets its name from the soft, drawn out calls that sound like sad laments

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Northern bobwhite
Northern bobwhite
Colinus virginianus
  • Geographic Range: Southeastern United States
  • Habitat: Open pine forests, overgrown fields, shrubby areas, and grasslands
  • Conservation Status: Near threatened
  • Fun Facts: These small quails travel in groups called coveys, run around from shelter to shelter, and normally do not take flight unless startled

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Pied-billed grebe
Pied-billed grebe
Podilymbus podiceps
  • Geographic Range: Found widely in North America and South America
  • Habitat: Ponds, lakes, marshes, and salt bays
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: The ultimate introvert, Pied-billed Grebes usually fly solo... when they fly at all! This species is rarely seen in flight and can actually adjust their buoyancy. They are often found floating with just the upper portion of the head above the water.

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Red-bellied woodpecker
Red-bellied woodpecker
Melanerpes carolinus
  • Geographic Range: Southern Canada and throughout the eastern United States
  • Habitat: Woodlands, deciduous forests, and towns
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: The common name of this species is a little misleading... as it has a bright red head and just a lightly tinted red chest. Red-bellied Woodpeckers use their long tongue to pull beetles and other insects from inside tree trunks.

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Ruby-throated hummingbird
Ruby-throated hummingbird
Archilochus colubris
  • Geographic Range: This species breeds in eastern North America, but winters in Central Americal from southern Mexico to western Panama
  • Habitat: Primarily found at the boundary between woodlands and meadows
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: While coming in at an average of just over 0.3g these small birds complete their non-stop migrations across the Gulf of Mexico twice each year, that's 800km each way! These birds are able to hover in midair by very rapidly flapping the wings. Note the very large sternum (breastbone) to support the large pectoralis (chest) muscles that power wing flapping.

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Sharp-shined hawk
Sharp-shined hawk
Accipiter striatus
  • Geographic Range: Found throughout North America, Central America, South America and the Greater Antilles
  • Habitat: Sharp-shined Hawks breed in deep forests, but hunt small birds and mammals along forest edges
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: The smallest hawk in North America has proportionally long legs, short wings, and long tails compared to a "typical hawk" body shape. They often prey on songbirds from backyard bird feeders!

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Sora rail
Sora rail
Porzana carolina
  • Geographic Range: Found throughout North America
  • Habitat: Salt marshes and freshwater wetlands
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: Like many other rail species, the Sora Rail is often heard but rarely seen. Outside of yearly migrations this species seems to resist flying if at all possible. During the breeding season, when Sora Rails break up into monogamous pairs and are solitary until the end of the breeding season when they form large gregarious groups as they put on an extra few pounds before their migration.

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Yellow-billed cuckoo
Yellow-billed cuckoo
Coccyzus americanus
  • Geographic Range: Formerly found throughout North America, Central America, and South America, in the last century this species has declined in all parts of its range, but especially in the western United States
  • Habitat: Deciduous woodlands
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: In some parts of the southern United States these birds are referred to as "storm crows" due to the fact that they are often heard calling on hot days preceding afternoon thunderstorms

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