The ability to fly has been a human desire since the beginning of time. Think about it: How many superheroes can fly? Superman, Storm, Rogue, Hawkgirl, and the Martian Manhunter to name a few. In some, the desire to fly became a reality: In 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright designed the first functioning airplane and revolutionized the world of travel forever. In the sports arena, in 1896, Otto Lilienthal crashed to his death while working on his invention: the hang glider. All of these things have gotten their inspiration from the natural fliers, birds.
With their incredible wingspans, birds have the ability to fly to heights with a grace and agility that is difficult to replicate. The wandering albatross has the largest wingspan of the bunch at a little over 10 feet as an average. While some birds tend to soar (Ruppell's griffon vulture holds the record at 37,000 feet) there are some birds that excel at plunging at an incredible speed (cape gannets have the nickname of "missile birds" for their ability to dive from the air at 60 miles per hour. While in descent, they pull their wings directly behind them, making them look like little missiles!)
So do you think you were made to soar with the eagles with your mad bird identification skills, or you going to crash and burn? Take this quiz to find out!
This easily recognized flying insect possess two pairs of wings; the smaller set of the four, the hindwings, are connected to the larger ones which in turn synchronizes when the creature takes flight. Despite their obvious ability to fly, it was believed for a long time that bumblebees shouldn't be able to fly due to the size of its body in comparison to its wings.
These small parrots are a popular household pet with nine species; eight of which are indigenous to Africa and the other found in Madagascar. Weighing up to forty to sixty grams, the females being the larger of the two sexes, they have a wingspan of 98 to 102 millimeters (males) and 99 to 106 millimeters (females) which enable them to take flight.
Occasionally kept as pets, these popular birds are a common source of meat and eggs in human diets. With a wingspan ranging from 45cm – 60 cm, in comparison to the rest of their body, they are only capable of short flights with the lighter breeds flying up to six feet high.
Also known as the shell parakeet, common parakeet or budgie, these small parakeets are commonly found in the dry Australian wild and is the third most popular pet in the world. On average they are about 18 cm long, weigh up to 30 – 40 grams and have a wingspan of 30 cm which allows them to lift themselves in the air.
The cockatiel, commonly known as the weiro or the quarrion, is the only member of the Nymphicus genus and a member of the cockatoo family. These highly social and vocal birds are popular household pets due to their abilities to mimic melodies and spoken human words. They are the smallest of the cockatoo family with an average size of 30 – 33 cm.
These glossy black birds are part of the Corvus genus of which there are nine species. They are very smart, displaying intelligence levels similar to dolphins and chimpanzees; they can be seen playing dead, recognizing themselves in the mirror, mimicking human speech, using hand gestures, and showing empathy to other ravens.
These eusocial insects are members of the Formicidae family and part of the Hymenoptera order and a distant relative of wasps. Most ants are wingless and sterile, with only the reproductive queens and males possessing wings.
Puffins are pelagic seabirds of the Alcidae family and part of the Fratercula genus two of which are found in the Northern Pacific Ocean (horned puffin and tufted puffin) while the other is native to the North Atlantic Ocean (the Atlantic Puffin). They have a stout build, black and white feathers and a distinct brightly colored bill which is shed and becomes smaller and duller and the mating season.
Cuckoos are medium-sized, slender birds and members of the Cuculidae family and part of the Cuculiformes order. They have been associated with many ancient human symbols such as a symbol of love in Europe, unrequited love in Japanese culture and cuckoldry in the Shakespearean play – Love's Labours Lost.
The blue jay is an indigenous North American passerine bird known for its noisy, bold and aggressive behavior. There are four accepted subspecies, though their differences are very subtle; the largest of the four the Northern blue jay and the smallest, the Florida blue jay.
Crows are members of the Corvus genus and a member of the Corvidae family. Given that there are no consistent differences between crows and ravens, the two are differentiated by the sizes with crows being the larger of the two.
The name 'robin' is assigned to some birds of other bird families with red or orange chest. These include the small insectivorous passerine European robin of the Turdidae family (thrush), the American robin also of the Turdidae family, and the Australasian robins of the Petroicidae family.
Flying fish is the name applied to the Exocoetidae family of marine fish, with seven to nine genera and sixty-four species. Their nickname is derived from the fishes' ability to leap out of the water to avoid oncoming predators. They do this by using their torpedo-shaped like body to gain speed and then propel themselves out of the water and using their wing-like fins to glide over the water for a brief period.
These seabirds are members of the Laridae Family, part of the Lari suborder, close relatives of the Sternidae family and distantly related to auks, skimmers and even more so waders.
Quail refers to the general name used for many medium-sized birds of the Galliformes Order. They are placed in two main categories; Old world quails of the Phasianidae family and New World quails of the Odontophoridae family.
These birds are easily recognized by their distinctive long beaks and large throats which they use to scoop up prey from the water. Their feathers are usually of a light hue with the Peruvian and brown pelicans being the exceptions.
These numerous and widespread epipelagic fish are members of the Hemiramphidae family and are named after their unique jaws; the lower jaw being much longer than the upper jaw.
Egrets are any one of the sixty-four recognized heron species of the Ardeidae family which are commonly found near freshwater coastal areas. They are characterized by their long necks and legs and white to light brown feathers which for several species turn to a milky white color during mating season.
The flying squid is the name given to certain members of the ommastrephid squid family of which there are three sub-families.
Geese are waterfowls of the Anatidae family of which there are three living genera of true geese. These are the Anser genus also known as grey geese, the Branta genus also known as black geese and the Chen genus also known as white geese.
Pigeons are members of the Columbidae bird family which include doves, which they bear a striking resemblance to. Like doves, they have short heads and necks on a stocky body and short, thin beaks with fleshy ceres in some species.
Wallace's Flying Frog, also known as the Abbah River Flying Frog is a member of the Anura order. They have bright shiny green skin with a white or pale yellow underbelly. In addition to this, they have long limbs with yellow webbed fingers and toes which they use to leap and glide as far as 15 meters to a nearby tree branch or the forest floor.
With the female hawk being the larger of the two sexes, these predatory birds have strongly hooked bills and excellent eyesight which contributes to the great hunting abilities. Their diet includes a range of smaller animals such as birds, rabbits, mice, squirrels, and snakes.
These wading birds are characterized by their long downward-curved bills, long legs and black and long, broad wings. They are frequently spotted in forests, wetlands, and plains, using their long bills search through the water for crabs, crayfish, small fishes, marine worms, and frogs.
Herons are medium to large sized coastal birds with long, harpoon-like bills with long legs and necks which, unlike other long-necked birds, they can retract during flight. Their plumage come in a variety of shades including black, white, brown, grey or blue which tends to be notably complex.
Draco, also referred to as flying dragons, flying lizards and gliding lizards, is a genus of the Agamidae family. They earned their nicknames due to their ability to glide through the air using the patagia attached from their ribs to their hind limbs.
Partridges are widely distributed throughout the Old World, primarily Asia, Europe and parts of Africa. They are referenced in several human cultures such as the popular Christmas carol "Twelve Days of Christmas."
Closely related to geese and ducks, these birds are part of the Anatidae family and the Cygnus genus of which there are six to seven species. They tend to weigh up to 15 kilograms and have an average wingspan of 3.1 meters, making them one of the largest flying birds.
Redpolls are identified by their small size, small yellow bills, brown or grey-black feathers on their backs. In males, the chest is painted in red while females and juveniles have a white belly marked with white streaks and a yellow-brown chest.
Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight due to the patagium (a thin membrane) connected to their forelimbs, unlike other "flying" mammals which can only glide for short distances.
Buzzards is the general name applied to various species of the bird of prey, many of which are part of the Buteo species. The largest of the species, the Ferruginous hawk with a wingspan of 1.2 – 1.5 meters, while the broad-wing hawk, despite its name is the smallest of the Buteo species with a wingspan of 1 meter.
Larks are usually small to medium-sized with a dull plumage (brown streaked feathers sometimes with black and white marks) which helps them camouflage in their nests and on the ground.
Sandpipers appearances vary within species and may be small to medium sized with a length ranging from 12 to 66 cm, a slender bill which comes in different lengths and a dull plumage decorated with brown, grey or striped patterns; with some species exhibiting brighter colors during the mating season.
The red knot and the great knot are the only two with the name "knot" attached to their names. The red knot is a medium-sized wading bird frequently found the Arctic Cordillera region of northern Europe, Russia, and Canada, while the larger of the two, the great Knot, is commonly found in the northeast Siberia region.
Flying squirrels can glide from tree to tree as far as 90 meters with the aid of their furry parachute-like membrane, the patagium. Their fluffy tail stabilizes their flight, and they use their limbs to control the tightness of the patagia which allows them to change angles mid-flight.
Owls are solitary and nocturnal birds of prey are part of the Strigiformes order, of which there are about 200 species. They are characterized by their binocular vision, binaural hearing, sharp talons, short downward facing hooked bill and special feathers which allows them to fly silently.
Also known as Old World sparrows or true sparrows, these small birds make up the Passer family and are part of the Passeridae family. Despite their shared name, they are different from the New World sparrows such as the American sparrows of Passerellidae family and the Java sparrow of the Estrildidae family. They are generally small, round with grey or brown plumage, short tails and stumpy bills which they use to eat seed and small insects.
Flying frog, also known as gliding frog, is the name assigned to any frog with the ability to achieve flight by gliding. There are 3,400 species of flying frogs which are all part of the Hylidae (New World) and Rhacophoridae (Old World) families. Their enlarged webbed hands and feet, skin flaps on their arms and legs and low weight contributes to the animal's aerodynamic abilities which arose as a result of their life in tall trees.
These large birds are indigenous to Asia are part of the Galliformes order, the Phasianidae family, and the Phasianinae subfamily. There is a striking difference between the two sexes; males of the common pheasant species come in a variety of colors with a long tail, while the females are usually less flashy with a dull brown plumage decorated with dark brown spots and a short tail.
Also known as true finch, these small to medium-sized passerine birds are members of the Fringillidae family. Many other bird species are commonly referred to as finches despite their non-relation. They are widely distributed around the world including Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America with some species introduced in Australia and generally live in well-wooded areas.
Formally known as colugos, these gliding mammals are native to Southeast Asia of which there are two living species. Despite their names, they are not considered true lemurs and are members of the Cynocephalidae family and the Dermoptera order. Like all gliding mammals, they use the flaps of skin between their limbs to glide through the air to get from tree to tree or from higher to lower spots.
Eagle is a popular name assigned to several large birds of prey of the Accipitridae family of which there are sixty species. The most well-known is the bald eagle, which is the national bird and animal of the U.S.A.
There is no consistent distinction between doves and pigeons and as such are used interchangeably. Doves are usually assigned to pigeons that are nearly white or pure white, while it occasionally refers to smaller columbine birds while the larger ones are called pigeons.
Mobula, also known as the devil rays, flying rays or flying mobula, is a genus of ray and members of the Mobulidae family. They bear a similar resemblance to manta rays who are also part of the Mobulidae family. Their many are nicknames are due to the rays' common tendencies to leap out of the water.
Cockatoos are any of the 21 species of parrots of the Cacatuidae family and the Cacatuoidea superfamily. They are characterized by their flashy crests and curved bills with generally less colorful plumages compared to other parrots.
Woodpeckers come in a variety of sizes ranging from as small as 7 cm to as large as 50 cm in length. Many species sport a simple plumage of olive and brown with spots while others have a bolder pattern of white, black and red with a small bunch of feathers on their head.
Scientifically referred to as Chrysopelea, these mildly venomous snakes are a genus of snakes which are part of the Colubridae family. It acquired its nickname because of its ability to climb vertically and then propel itself forward to land in a short distance on the ground.
Duck is the collective name assigned to several species of the Anatidae waterfowl family which includes geese and swans. These aquatic birds are generally smaller than ducks and geese and are commonly found in both fresh and salt water.
The average macaw has a length of up to 81 cm, half of which includes its tail. Its plumage is adorned in bright shades of colors such as mostly scarlet, dark blue, light blue, dark red, yellow with some macaws exhibiting green on their wings.
These wading birds of the Phoenicopteridae family are easily recognized by their colorful feathers which are light pink and bright red and their tendency of standing on one leg with the other tucked beneath their body.