Land Birds

Jackdaws have distinctive calls that sound like “tchaw, tchaw” or “tchack, tchack.”

Jackdaws Vote to Decide When to Take Flight

The birds use vocalizations to signal when they want to leave the roost

A great tit sitting on a post in Suffolk, England, calls out.

Do Birds Have Language?

In the cheeps, trills and tweets of birdsong, scientists find some parallels with human speech

Linda is observant, social, and aware of new sights and sounds.

Meet Linda the Ostrich, the National Zoo's Newest Animal Ambassador

The large feathery friend is four years old and arrived at the Zoo in November 2021

What a male song sparrow sings in each moment is dependent on what he sang 30 minutes ago and suggests that the birds don't have a 'bird brain,' but incredible memory and recall capacities.
 

To Impress Lady Birds, Male Sparrows Sing Their Songs on Shuffle

The singers will memorize a 30-minute playlist and remix the order later to avoid losing their lover's attention

As bald eagle populations shoot up, disputes between the birds of prey do, too, especially near nesting territory.

 

Watch Bald Eagles Tussle in the Middle of a Minnesota Street

The raptors may have gotten entangled during a territorial fight or courtship dance

New Zealand's long-tailed bats are about the size of a human thumb and weigh less than a tablespoon of sugar.

New Zealand's Bird of the Year Is... a Bat

The winged mammal is critically endangered and won the award to raise awareness about their existence and importance to the island ecosystem

The California condor's population stooped dangerously low to 22 individuals in the 1980s, and scientists have been running a captive breeding program since then to save these birds.

California Condors Surprise Scientists With Two 'Virgin Births'

Genetic data revealed that two females laid fatherless eggs

Early humans may have eaten late-stage fertilized eggs, known as balut, or raised the chicks for feathers and meat.

 

 

Thousands of Years Before Humans Raised Chickens, They Tried to Domesticate the World's Deadliest Bird

Fossilized eggs found in rock shelters suggest cassowaries were cohabitating with our ancestors

Though the fossil shared a resemblance to others found in the region, it had much longer legs. The team decided to name the new species Kairuku waewaeroa, which means “long-legged” in the Maori language.

New Zealand Kids Discovered This Fossil of New Giant Penguin Species on a Field Trip

Paleontologists say the bird would have been roughly the size of a ten-year-old child

After his recovery, researchers noticed Bruce was using small pebbles to rid his plumage of mites and dirt—a practice that has never been observed before.

Bruce the Parrot Uses Tools to Survive Despite a Broken Beak

Missing his upper beak, an alpine parrot in New Zealand uses small pebbles for preening

When comparing the genomes, the team found that the birds of Stewart Island had less genetic diversity than the mainland birds and had half as many mutations as the birds that dwelled on the mainland.

Thousands of Years of Inbreeding May Have Saved This Flightless Parrot From Extinction

The Kākāpō had fewer mutations in its genome despite a small genetic pool and long history of isolation due to a previous near-extinction event

Musk ducks join an elite group of non-human animals that can mimic speech.

Listen to Ripper the Duck Say 'You Bloody Fool!'

New research highlights the rare trait of vocal learning among animals with examples of musk ducks imitating human speech and other noises

Scientists suspect that the vultures have expanded into Indiana in the past few decades because of climate change and changes in land use.

Federally Protected Black Vultures May Be 'Eating Cows Alive' in the Midwest

Farmers are seeking permits to cull any raptors harming their livestock, but experts say reports of vicious attacks are exaggerated

Male acorn woodpeckers, like the one on the left, have more offspring over their lives when they’re polygamous, according to new research.

Smithsonian Voices

Polygamy Helps Male Acorn Woodpeckers Thrive

The findings of a new study could help scientists learn more about how social behaviors evolved in other animals

A sulfur-crested cockatoo flips open the lid of a bin.

Why Australia's Trash Bin–Raiding Cockatoos Are the 'Punks of the Bird World'

The birds can bust open garbage lids—and the behavior is catching on fast, which could be a sign of social learning

Cher Ami, April 1918–June 1919

Smithsonian Voices

Solving a 100-Year-Old Mystery About the Brave Pigeon Cher Ami

Science determines the most famous pigeon in World War I history was not a female, but a cock bird

Via Getty: "A state wildlife veterinarian inspects a European starling carcass before shipping it to the University of Georgias Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources headquarters on July 2, 2021."

Mysterious Bird-Killing Illness Spreads to More Mid-Atlantic States

Researchers rule out several pathogens but still don’t know what is causing the deaths

There's more to a flamingo than its bright pink feathers.

Smithsonian Voices

10 Things You Didn't Know About Flamingos

There's more to these birds than their bright pink feathers; get to know these delightfully unusual creatures

Townsend captured the Oregon dark-eyed junco, above, and the Townsend’s warbler, below, named after him—for now.

Birds Collected Nearly Two Centuries Ago Still Help Scientists Today

The specimens gathered during an illustrious expedition by naturalist John Kirk Townsend continue to provide value to researchers

A blue jay photographed at a bird feeder. Fledgling blue jays and grackles in D.C., Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia have been dying of a mysterious ailment since late May.

Mysterious Ailment Blinding and Killing Birds in Washington, D.C. Area

Authorities are urging the public to take down bird feeders and baths in hopes of curbing the spread of what could be a wildlife disease

loading icon