Birds Encyclopedia

Loons

Loons — The loons (North America) or divers (UK/Ireland) are a group of aquatic birds found in many parts of North America and northern Eurasia (Europe, Asia and debatably Africa). All living species of loons are members of the genus (Gavia), family (Gaviidae) and order (Gaviiformes). A loon is the size of a large duck or small goose, which it …

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Longspur

Longspur — The Longspurs, genus Calcarius, are a group of birds in the family Calcariidae. The name refers to the long claw on the hind toe of each foot. The genus formerly included the McCown’s Longspur, Rhyncophanes mccownii, which is now placed in a separate genus. These are chunky ground-feeding birds with long wings which are usually seen in open …

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Kite

Kite — Kites are raptors with long wings and weak legs which spend a great deal of time soaring. Most feed mainly on carrion but some take various amounts of live prey. They are birds of prey which, along with hawks and eagles, are from the family Accipitridae. Together with less closely related groups such as New World vultures and …

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Kingfisher

Kingfisher — Kingfishers are a group of small to medium sized brightly coloured birds in the order Coraciiformes. They have a cosmopolitan distribution, with most species being found in the Old World and Australia. The group is treated either as a single family, Alcedinidae, or as a suborder Alcedines containing three families, Alcedinidae (river kingfishers), Halcyonidae (tree kingfishers), and Cerylidae …

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Kingbird

Kingbird — The genus Tyrannus is a group of large insect-eating birds in the Tyrant flycatcher family Tyrannidae bird order Passeriformes. The majority are named as Kingbirds. The kingbird comprises the genus Tyrannus of the New World family, Trannidae, known as tyrant flycatchers. Despite their relatively small size, kingbirds are boldly aggressive against intruders, especially birds of prey. They measure …

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Hummingbird

Hummingbird — Hummingbirds are small birds in the family Trochilidae, native only to the Americas. They are known for their ability to hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings, 15–80 times per second (depending on the species). Capable of sustained hovering, the hummingbird has the ability to fly deliberately backwards (this is the only group of birds able to …

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Hornbills

Hornbills — Hornbills (Bucerotidae) are a family of bird found in tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia and Melanesia. They are characterized by a long, down-curved bill which is frequently brightly-colored and sometimes has a casque on the upper mandible. Both the common English and the scientific name of the family refer to the shape of the bill, “buceros” being “cow …

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Hawk

Hawk — The term hawk can be used in several ways: In strict usage in Australia and Africa, to mean any of the species in the subfamily Accipitrinae, which comprises the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawks, sparrowhawks, the Sharp-shinned Hawk and others. These are mainly woodland birds with long tails …

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Gull

Gull — Gulls (often informally called seagulls) are birds in the family Laridae. They are most closely related to the terns (family Sternidae) and only distantly related to auks, skimmers, and more distantly to the waders. Until the twenty-first century most gulls were placed in the genus Larus, but this arrangement is now known to be polyphyletic, leading to the …

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