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UNIT 5.

2: BIRDS
Name: Amira Cedeo Pinto
Course: 9th A

Birds species live in most


environments

Penguins live in Antarctica, and parrots inhabit the tropics. Pelicans scoop
their food from the water, while cardinals crack open seeds and eat insides.
Swallows skim insects from above surface of a pond. A soaring hawk swoop
down, and a smaller animal becomes its prey. There are over 10000
species of the vertebrate animals called birds. Their adaptation allow them
to live all over the world. Some bird species, such as pigeons, are adapted
to live in a wide range of environments, while others have adaptations that
limits them to living in one place.

Birds characteristics
It

probably seems easy for you to recognize which animals are birds.
Birds are distinguished by these characteristics:

They

have feathers and a beak.

They

have four limbs: a pair of legs and a pair of wings .

Their

eggs have hard shells.

Birds can maintain body


temperature
In

the last section, you learned that the body temperature of


ectotherms, such as amphibians and reptiles, changes with their
environment . Birds are endotherms, or animals that maintain a
constant body temperature. Maintaining temperature allows
endotherms to live in some places where frogs, turtles, and
alligators cannot.

A ectotherm body function


When

an ectothermic animals body is cool, its systems slow down and it


becomes less active. A less active animal consumes little or no food and is
unlikely to reproduce. It moves slowly or not at all and breathes less often.
Its nervous system becomes less responsive, and its heart pumps more
slowly. An ectothermic animal that stays cool for too long will die. Even if it
has enough food, its body lacks the energy needed to digest the food.
Ectothermic animals have adaptations for generating more body heat and
keeping it near their bodies.

Generating heat
The

energy birds produce as body heat comes from food. This


means that birds and other endotherms need to eat a lot. An
ectotherm such as a frog might be able to survive for days on the
energy it gets from just one worm, while a bird on the same diet
might starve. Also, the amount of food and endotherm needs is
affected by climate. House sparrows and other birds that do not
migrate need to eat more food and produce more energy to
survive in winter than they do during warmer seasons.

Controlling body temperature


Birds

have soft feathers, called down, that keep warm air close to
their bodies. If have you ever slept with a down comforter or worn
a down jacket, you know that these feathers . Other feathers,
called contour feathers, cover the down on birds. In most species,
contour feathers are water resistant and protect birds from getting
wet. Birds, like other animals, have behaviors for maintaining body
temperature, such as resting in a shady place during the hottest
part of a summer day.

Most birds can fly


Of

all the animals on Earth today, only three groups have evolved
adaptations for flight: insects, bats, and birds. Fossil evidence
suggest that the first birds appeared on earth about 150 million
years ago and that they were reptiles with adaptations for flight.
Scientists think that all birds are descended from these flying
ancestors, even modern species such as ostriches and penguins,
which cannot fly.

Adaptations for flight


To

lift its body into the air and fly, an animals body has to be very
strong , but also light. Many adaptations and many millions of
years were needed before birds body plans and systems became
capable of flight. With these adaptations, birds lost the ability the
some things that other vertebrates can.

The adaptations
Endoskeleton:

Some of the bones in a birds body are fused, or


connected without joints.

Wings

wings.

and feathers: Birds do not have hands or paws on their

Specialized

respiratory system: Flying takes a lot of energy, so


birds need a lot of oxygen.

Hollow

bones: Many of the bones in a birds skeleton are hollow.

Benefits of flight
Flight

allows animals to get food from places where animals living on land
or in water cannot. For example ,some species of birds spend most of their
lives flying over the ocean, hunting for fish. Also, a flying bird can search a
large area for food more effectively than it could if it walked, ran, or swam.
For many species of birds, flight makes migration possible. Most migratory
birds have two living places, one for the summer and one for the winter.

Adaptation for flight

Birds lay eggs with hard shells


Birds

reproduce sexually. Many species of bird have distinctive


ways of trying to attract males. Some species sing, and others
develop colorful feathers during mating season. Wild turkeys fight
each other, bowerbirds construct elaborate nests, and would cocks
fly high in the air and then zig zag back down. In most bird species,
the male animals display and the female selects her mate.

Birds reproduction
The

reproduction process for birds is similar to that of reptiles.


After internal fertilization, a shell forms around each fertilized egg
while it is still inside the female body. Reptiles eggs usually have
flexible shells, but the shells of bird eggs are hard.

Most birds take care of their


offspring
In

some bird species, male and female mates care for their
offspring together. This is often the case for birds, such as the
tanagers in the top photograph, whose young hatch before their
eyes open or their feather grow. It takes two adults birds to provide
them with enough food, warmth , and protection.

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