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Birds

Birds are often envied for their ability to fly, but not all of them can. Learn how birds can manipulate feathers, bone and wing structure to soar through the air and even dive-bomb into the water for food.

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The Toucan Is Far More Than the Froot Loops Mascot

Generations of cereal eaters grew up sharing the breakfast table with Toucan Sam, famous for following his long, colorful nose — but what's that bill for besides hawking cereal?

The Andean Condor: 100 Miles, 5 Hours, 0 Flaps of Its Wings

The energy efficiency of the Andean condor is the avian embodiment of the phrase "work smarter, not harder."

Honeyguide Birds Lead Humans Straight to Beehives

A remarkable partnership has formed over centuries between honeyguide birds and humans — and both species benefit when the honey is found and the comb is cracked.

The Cassowary Is the World's Most Dangerous Bird

This exotic bird could seriously injure or kill a person or a dog in an instant with its deadly claws.

Why Birds of a Feather Mob Together

Bird mobs are not roving gangs of thug birds. But they are bands of birds coming together to harass bigger predators. And the behavior is loud and raucous.

Does a Pelican's Bill Hold More Than Its Belly Can?

When a half-full plate of dinner sits before you and your overstuffed tummy, have you ever been told your eyes are too big for your stomach? The pelican's got a similar problem.

Penguins: The Monogamous Tuxedoed Birds That 'Fly' Underwater

There are up to 26 species of penguins in the world, most of whom mate for life, and while none of them can fly, they swim like Olympic champs.

Bald Eagles Aren't Really Bald, Plus 6 Other Facts

The national bird of the United States has taken on iconic status as the avian avatar of freedom, but its wingspan and steely gaze guarantee its status in the pecking order of prey birds as a symbol of strength.

The Harpy Eagle: Terrifying Apex Predator or Creepy Halloween Costume?

The largest eagle in the world has a claw the size of a grizzly bear's, a leg the size of a human's and a very disapproving gaze.

If a Peacock Loses His Tail Feathers, Do They Grow Back?

Whether used in fashion or complicated mating rituals, peacock feathers drive the ladies crazy. But, what happens when a peacock loses his last feather? Will he become a fashion-don't?

Why Are We So Fascinated With Owls?

From ancient times until today, people have been captivated by these iconic, mysterious birds. What is it about owls that makes them the enduring subject of myth and superstition?

The Secrets and Science Behind Starling Murmurations

Starlings are short and thick, with dark feathers and long, pointy bills. Collectively, however, they transform into something else entirely.

Where Did San Francisco's Wild Parrots Come From?

The parrots of the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San Francisco are legendary, but how did they get there?

Hummingbirds: What to Feed Them and a Springtime Q&A

There's a lot of conversation around what we should be feeding our backyard hummingbird visitors, so we threw the question, along with others, to an expert.

Meet the World's Smallest, Toughest Owl

The smallest owls in the world have mad survival skills, like killing poisonous scorpions and playing dead.

Wisdom, the World's Oldest-known Bird, Lays Another Egg

Wisdom the Laysan albatross is pushing 70, but laid another egg this year.

How Birds Get Berry, Berry Drunk

Berries are a great food source for birds, but this diet can backfire when the fruit starts to ferment.

Only Birds Have a Syrinx and That's Why They Sing

Only birds have a special voice box — the syrinx — and it's what they use to sing. But what's so unique about the syrinx is that it's actually an evolutionary anomaly.

Oh, Birds! Please Don't Fly Into Our Windows

Why do birds do that? A global citizen science project wants you to help them find out.

French Rooks Trained as Park Janitors

A French theme park has trained a crew of six rooks to pick up after its messy guests.

Not All Birds Fly South for Winter: Partial Migration Is on the Rise

Partial migration — where some animals or birds in the same species migrate regularly and others don't — is more common than you'd think. But what explains that behavior?

Swamp Sparrow: Singing the Same Tune for Generations

The American swamp sparrow has created an oral tradition that's lasted more than a millennium.

Why Mockingbirds Mock

What benefit does one bird get from copying another bird's calls?

American Crows and Ravens: What's the Difference?

It's easy to mistake a crow for a raven or vice versa. But the two birds are actually pretty different.

What the Cluck? How a Hen Turned Into a Rooster

Spontaneous sex reversal in chickens is pretty rare, but it does happen. Find out how Miss Lucille became Mr. Lucille.

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