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Bird Facts

The Stuka: These Arctic terns know little fear and will dive-bomb larger predators, often in squadrons.See more bird pictures.
Frans Lemmens/Getty Images

Approximately 10,000 species of birds make up the class Aves--a diverse group that has long fascinated the human race with peculiar behaviors and adaptations.

Home invader: The kea (New Zealand), the world's only cold-weather parrot, loves to swing on car antennas and sled down the snowy roofs of ski lodges. The bird's favorite sport, though, is to get inside a lodge through its chimney and then trash the joint in search of food.

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Neighborhood lookout: Bright-beaked puffins (Northern seacoasts) adopt a low-profile walk to tell other puffins they are just passing through. The other puffins adopt a sentry pose to warn the tourists not to get any bright ideas.

Deep-sea diver: The common loon (northern North America and Greenland) can dive more than 250 feet below the water's surface.

Vermonter at heart: The widespread sapsucker bores holes in trees, then slurps up the sweet sap.

Sanitary engineer: A malleefowl (Australia) lays eggs in a nest full of rotting vegetation. The decay gives off heat to keep the eggs warm; the male bird checks the temperature often and adjusts the pile as necessary.

Airborne garbage disposal: The gull-like sheathbill (Antarctic) eats dead fish, other birds' eggs and babies, even seal and bird droppings.

Mugger: Skuas (various cold aquatic climes) are gull-like seabirds that chase other birds and force them to drop or cough up their food.

Find more bird facts on the following page.

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