Amazing Facts

Bird records

  • The largest bird in the world
    today is the Ostrich Struthio camelus. The North
    African Ostrich subspecies is the tallest of all the
    Ostriches. Males can be 2.74 m tall. The head and neck can be
    1.4 m long. The average height is around 2 m.

  • The smallest bird in the world
    is either the Bee Hummingbird Mellisuga helenae from
    Cuba and the Isle of Pines or the Little Woodstar Acestrura
    of Ecuador and northern Peru. The male
    hummingbird is 57 mm and weighs 1.6 g. Half of its length is
    taken up by the bill and the tail. Some experts think the
    Woodstar is even smaller.

  • The bird with the largest
    wingspan is the Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans
    which lives in the southern oceans. Its wings average 2.54 -
    3.51 m. The largest recorded wingspan was of a very old male
    whose wings measured 3.63 m.

  • The Australian Pelican Pelecanus
    has the longest bill of any bill
    measuring 34 - 47 cm.

  • The bird with the longest bill
    to body size is the Sword-billed Hummingbird Ensifera
    that lives in the high Andes from Venezuela to
    Bolivia. Its bill is 10.2 cm long, four times longer than the
    bird's body, not counting the tail.

  • Ostriches Struthio camelus
    have the longest legs. Their legs can be up to 1.3 m long.

  • A number of swifts have the
    shortest legs. Their family name Apodidae means 'lacking

  • Jacanas (Jacanidae family) have
    the longest toes relative to body length. Some of the larger
    Jacanas can have 'toespans' of at least 15 cm.

  • The Phoenix Fowl has the longest
    feathers. The upper tail can grow for six years and one
    measured 10.6 m. The Phoenix Fowl has been bred as an
    ornamental bird in Japan since the mid 17th century and is a
    breed of the Red Jungle Fowl Gallus gallus.

  • The longest feathers of a wild
    bird relative to body size, are the central tail feathers of
    the male Ribbon-tailed Bird of Paradise Asptrapia mayeri.
    It lives in the mountain rainforest of New Guinea.

  • The most feathers ever counted
    on one bird was 25 216 on the Tundra Swan Cygnus
    . 80 per cent of feathers were on the bird's

  • The least number of feathers
    ever counted was 940 on a Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus
    . But this bird, relative to its body size, has
    more feathers than most other birds. It measures only 9 cm.

  • The Peregrine Falcon Falco
    is the fastest bird and fastest of any kind
    of animal. It can reach speeds of at least 200 km when diving
    for prey in the air.

  • Hummingbirds have the fastest
    wingbeat. The Horned Sungem Heliactin cornuta, in
    tropical South America beats its wings at 90 beats per second.

  • Hummingbirds, Family Trochilidae
    have been recorded in experiments, hovering for 50 minutes.

  • The Artic Tern Sterna
    is believed to migrate the furthest. It flies
    from the shores of the Arctic to the Antarctic. One banded
    Arctic Tern cover 22 530 km flying from the White Sea Coast of
    Russia to Fremantle, Western Australia.

  • Relative to body size the Long
    Rufous Humingbird Selasphorus rufus makes the longest
    migration. It measures 10 cm and flies from as far north as
    Alaska to Mexico and back again - 10 000 km.

  • The highest recorded altitude
    for any bird was 11 277 m for a Ruppell's Griffon Vulture Gyps
    . It flew into a plane.

  • The largest bird egg is from the
    Ostrich Sturthio camelus. The egg measures 15 - 20 cm
    long, 10 - 15 cm in diameter and weighs 1 - 1.78 kg.

  • The smallest known egg is the
    egg of the Vervain Hummingbird Mellisuga minima of
    Jamacia and nearby islets. The egg is barely the size of a pea
    and measures less than 10 mm in length and weighs 0.356 g.

  • The largest nest was built by a
    pair of Bald Eagles Haliaeetus leucocephalus was 2.9 m
    wide and 6 m deep.

  • The Mallee Fowl Leipoa
    of Australia builds a mound for a nest. These
    mounds have been measured at 4.57 m high and 10.6 m long. A
    mound this size means the bird moved 250 cubic metres of
    vegetation and 300 tonnes of soil.

  • The Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca
    which measures 35 cm and nests on islands in
    the North Pacific excavates a burrow of 2 - 3 m in length.
    Burrows up to 6 m are not uncommon and 8 m burrows have also
    been found.

  • Emperor Penguins Aptenodytes
    make the deepest dive of any bird ranging from
    444 - 483 m. They also stay under water the longest. The
    maximum dive time recorded has been 18 minutes.

  • The fastest swimmer is probably
    the Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua at 27 km per hour.

  • The fastest runner is the
    Ostrich Struthio camelus. It can run up to 72 km per
    hour over short distances.

  • The only poisonous birds known
    are the three species of Pitohui from Papua new Guinea - the
    Hooded Pitohui Pitohui dichrous the Rusty Pitohui P.
    and the Variable Pitohui P.
    . The Hooded Pitohui is the deadliest. The
    skin and feathers contain almost the same homobatrachotoxin as
    the Poison Arrow Frogs.

Related Tags: Birds  Records  World  
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