More Bird Facts
Family planner: Similar to the cockatoo, the galah (Australia) raises a larger or smaller clutch of chicks, depending on food availability. ZSSD/Getty Images Detox dieter: The stunning scarlet macaw (South America) eats clay from riverside deposits, which may help it process toxic seeds it consumes.
Sponge dad: A male sand grouse (Asian and African deserts) soaks himself in water, then flies back to the nest so his chicks can drink from his feathers.
Mach 0.13 in level flight: The spine-tailed swift (Asia) can fly 106 miles per hour--without benefit of a dive.
Captain Ahab: The wetlands-dwelling anhinga spears fish with a long, sharp, slightly barbed beak that keeps dinner from sliding off.
Lazy mom: A paradise whydah hen (equatorial and southern Africa) lays her eggs in a finch nest. This fools the finch, which raises the chicks as its own.
Fears nothing: The two-and-a-half-foot-tall great gray owl (northern forests) has a wingspan of five feet and fiercely attacks anything that gets too close to its nest and owlets.
Preventive measures: The southern carmine bee-eater (Africa) rubs a bee's "butt" against a tree branch to break off its stinger.
Bone-breaker: European and Asian mountains are home to the lammergeier, a high-flying vulture that drops bones repeatedly to get at the tasty marrow.
Sturdy swimmer: American dipper birds, also known as "water duzels," use their strong wings to "fly" under and through water to catch prey.
This article was adapted from "The Book of Incredible Information," published by West Side Publishing, a division of Publications International, Ltd.