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What is a bird and what are the different kinds of birds?

Wherever we go in the world, we will see birds.
Scientists have named about 8,600 different species of birds.
Some species live in forests, while others live on grasslands, in deserts, on mountaintops or on uninhabited islands.
Some live near human beings—around farmlands and in cities.
Birds are the only animals with feathers.
All birds have wings but not all of them can fly.
A flying bird can travel faster than any other animal.

What are the different kinds of birds?

The kind of food that birds eat varies from one group of birds to another.

Birds of prey, such as eagles and hawks, catch mice, lizards, snakes, and other small animals. Some even catch fish.
The bald eagle uses its claws to snatch fish from the water while flying.
Birds of prey have sharp, curved beaks that can tear flesh.
Owls hunt at night and catch farm pests like rats and mice.

Swallows, martins, and swifts have large mouths adapted to catching flying insects. 
Their long, curved wings help them to fly fast, and to twist and turn in the air.

Hummingbirds are tiny birds that feed on nectar from flowers. 
They have a long, slender beak and a long tongue.
Hummingbirds are skillful fliers and can hover in front of a flower for several minutes.
Some can even fly backward!

Ostriches are the largest living birds. 
Sometimes, they grow as tall as 8 feet (2.4 meters).
An ostrich is too big to fly, but it can run as fast as 40 miles (64 kilometers) an hour, using its wings to balance itself.
 Penguins lost the ability to fly millions of years ago. 
They use their wings as flippers for swimming in the water.
On land, penguins walk or slide along.

Gulls and terns are common seabirds living mainly on fish. 
They have a strong, hooked beak.
 Macaws live in the forested areas of Central and South America. 
They eat nuts, seeds and fruit, using a short, arched beak.

How do birds breed?

All birds hatch from eggs.
Usually, the female lays her eggs in a nest built by herself or her mate, or both.
Baby birds may stay in the nest for weeks after hatching.
The parent birds feed and protect the young birds until they can look after themselves.


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