Q:

Are birds mammals?

A:

Quick Answer

Birds are not mammals. They don't have fur, and they don't nurse their young with milk as mammals do; however, birds share some traits with mammals. They are warm blooded and can eat a wide variety of food, from fruits and seeds to reptiles, fish, small mammals and other birds.

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Full Answer

Like mammals, birds are widespread and adapted to all sorts of habitats, living in all parts of the world from the tropics to the poles. Depending on their habitat, birds have different types of beaks, feet and nests. Herons have beaks like spears to catch fish. Sparrows and grosbeaks have heavy beaks to crack the shells of seeds. Hawks have grasping feet with sharp talons to catch their prey, while ducks, loons and geese have webbed feet to help them swim. Eagles build large nests in the forks of trees or on cliffs, killdeers lay their eggs on the bare ground and cuckoos lay their eggs in other birds' nests.

All birds have feathers, but not all birds can fly. Flightless birds include the ostrich, the emu, the cassowary and the penguin. Flying requires a great expenditure of energy. Flightless birds have frequently evolved in places where they have few predators or little competition. Other birds, such as raptors and swifts, are excellent fliers.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where can I identify birds?

    A:

    Birdwatchers can identify birds either at home or in the field using online or printed field guides. These field guides help birdwatchers identify a bird by comparing the observed shape, size, color and behavior of the bird with the kinds of birds known to be in the area.

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  • Q:

    Where do birds live?

    A:

    Birds live in nests which are either located on the ground or in bushes or trees. Some bird species build nests within holes that they burrow in the sides of trees while other birds favor making nests in the tree tops.

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  • Q:

    How can I identify birds?

    A:

    Birds can be identified by both sight and sound. Identification based on sound largely involves memorization, while learning a few important field marks makes visual identification much easier. Field marks are distinctive colors, patterns or markings that help in identification.

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  • Q:

    Are birds ominvores, carnivores or herbivores?

    A:

    Depending on the species, a bird may be a carnivore, an omnivore or an herbivore. Larger birds with sharp talons are more likely to be carnivores, while small birds with beaks built for cracking nuts are more likely to be herbivores.

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