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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves

Back to Animals

What is it that makes an animal a bird? The main characteristic of a bird is feathers. No other animal has feathers. Other important features for birds are wings and hollow bones. Birds also lay eggs, like reptiles, however they are warm-blooded, like mammals.

Feathers are important to birds because they keep them warm, help them to fly, and provide camoflauge. Hollow bones are important because they help make the bird light enough to fly. Of course wings are important to flying as well.


Birds fly by flapping their wings and using air pressure to create lift under their wings. Just like airplanes do. The peregrin falcon is the fastest bird and can reach speeds of well over 100 miles per hour when diving.

Athough an important characteristic of most birds is flying, not all birds fly. Some birds that don't fly are penguins, kiwis, and ostriches. Penguins actually spend a good portion of time in the water where they are prolific swimmers. Ostriches on the other hand are very fast runners. An ostrich can outrun a horse!

There are all sizes of birds. Hummingbirds are some of the smallest birds, while ostriches are some of the biggest. Different types of birds eat different things. Some birds feed on plants, some birds eat insects, and still others eat other animals like fish, snakes, or rodents.

Birds are also known for their massive migrating patterns. Some Birds will travel travel long distances each season to stay in a climate that is good for their survival. Birds are sometimes kept as pets. The most popular birds for pets are tropical birds like parrots. Birds also have history of helping out humans in various tasks. They can carry messages (homing pigeons) and help hunt (falcons).

Fun Facts About Birds

An ostrich can run as fast as 43 miles per hour.

Blue birds can't see the color blue.

Hummingbirds can not walk.

For more about birds:

Penguins - Birds that swim
Ostriches - The biggest birds don't fly, but man are they fast.
Cardinals - Beautiful red birds you can find in your backyard.

Birds - Encyclopedia Junior - All sorts of info on birds for kids.

Back to Animals

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