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57 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

What is a bird?

A bipedal vertebrate with feathers

What is the major defining feature of birds?


What are feathers?

Modifications of the epidermis/modified reptilian scales

6 characteristics of feathers

Filamentous, flexible, lightweight, warm, strong, and soft

3 functions of feathers

Thermoregulation, flight, and displays

What are wings?

Modified forelimbs used for flight

Describe a bird's bill

Toothless and covered with keratin sheath

Describe the bones of birds

Lightweight, hollow, spongy, and strutted

Describe bird skeletons

Forelimbs, head, pelvis, and legs are fused to strengthen and reinforce the skeleton

What are horizontal, backward curved projections on the ribs that overlap other ribs to strengthen the thorax?

Uncinate processes

What is a furcula?

Modified clavicles that compress and rebound like a spring during flight

How is the sternum modified?

Large keel for attachment of wing muscles

2 types of muscle fibers

White muscle fibers: fast-twitch, used for speed not endurance. Red muscle fibers: slow-twitch, used for endurance/produces heat by shivering

What is a bird's average body temperature?

40-44 degrees C / 104-108 degrees F

Describe the circulatory system of a bird

4 chambered heart, efficient

Describe the respiratory system of a bird

highly efficient one way system with a set of posterior and anterior air sacs. It takes 2 complete breathing cycles to get the air and and out of the lungs

Describe bird reproduction (3)

produce large, nutritious external eggs. No bird species bear live young. Parental care essential

Are most bird socially monogamous, polygamous, or polyandrous?

socially monogamous

Describe the nervous system of birds

large, well-developed brains

How many times larger is a bird's brain than a reptile's?


3 things that birds are capable of learning

complex motor tasks, social behavior, and vocalizations

4 cues birds use during migration

patterns of earth's magnetism, celestial cues, polarized light, and landmarks

What is unique about bird vision?

it extends into the ultraviolet range of the spectrum

What is unique about bird hearing?

it includes infrasounds (below human hearing)

What is adaptive radiation?

the diversity in form and function of bird adaptations caused primarily by natural selection

2 traits affected by adaptive radiation

bill sizes and shapes and leg lengths/foot shapes

3 flight causes of wing shape variation

slow flapping, fast takeoff, and soaring

How many bird species are there worldwide?

over 10,000

What is the smallest bird and how much does it weight?

Bee Hummingbird, 2 grams

What is the largest living bird?


What were the 2 largest, extinct birds?

Teratorn: 5 m wingspan, and Diatryma: 2 m tall with horse-sized skull

What is an alternative name for the American Woodcock's display flight?

Sky dancing

6 nicknames of the American Woodcock

Timberdoodle, sky dancer, swamp bat, bog sucker, big-eyed john, and mud bat

What order are Woodcocks in, and what is their preferred habitat?

Charadriformes, forest/fields

Describe the appearance of a Woodcock (4 traits)

quail sized, eyes sit way back on head, short legs way back on body, and long beak with nerves all the way to the end to locate earthworms

How many eggs do woodcocks lay?


Are woodcocks single-brooded or multi-brooded?

single brood

describe the eggs and nest of a woodcock

nest: shallow depression on the ground, eggs: heavily camouflaged

How many days to woodcocks incubate nests, and how long do young stay in the nest?

21 days and 1 day

How long do woodcocks brood their young?

6-8 weeks

What did the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 change about woodcock hunting?

Prior to 1918, people hunted wookcocks at night using torches to find nest. Now, they can only be hunted during the day

3 ways to locate woodcocks

walk through their habitat and they will burst up at your feet, go out in february/march to watch their breeding displays, and sit in appropriate habitat in the evening and they will fly overhead

2 other evidences for woodcock presense

"splashes": size of a 50 cent piece, white with dark center. probing holes: made while looking for earthworms

are woodcocks monogamous, Polygynous , or polyandrous?


Where do male woodcocks display?

lekking grounds

when do woodcocks display?

year round, but concentrated from late winter to early summer

What time of day to do woodcocks display?

dawn and dusk, or all night if it's a full moon

What two calls do woodcocks make?

quiet "tuko" followed by loud "peent"

What happens after the male woodcock "peents" for a few minutes?

he takes off, spiraling upward, and creating a twittering sound with his three narrow outer primary feathers. Then, he starts a large-circling downward flight while chirping

When is the woodcock's spring migration?

Late January to early march

3 woodcock breeding migration triggers

increasing day length, after the full moon in February most will leave withing two weeks, and wind blowing from south to north

3 things learned from the great backyard bird count

migration patterns, year-to-year changes, and long-term trends

According to the GBBC rules, how long should you count birds?

for at least 15 minutes

3 reasons to start a new GBBC checklist

new day, new location, and new time

Where do you enter GBBC numbers?

2 reasons you would have to create a new GBBC account

if you are new, or if you have not participated in the last two years

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