Land Birds

The birds gather by the thousands along the Platte River.

See Thousands of Sandhill Cranes Gather in Nebraska

Every year, travelers attempt to witness the birds on their long journey north

One standout feature of the renovated Bird House at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is the chance for close-up, interactive experiences (above: a cedar waxwing).

Experience the Wonder of Migration at the National Zoo’s New Bird House

Following a six-year renovation, the revamped exhibition will open March 13 with three indoor aviaries

Purple martins perch on a branch in the Brazilian Amazon.

Why Are Purple Martins Declining in the United States?

Mercury contamination in their Amazonian wintering grounds may play a role

Flamingo the king pigeon was rescued from Madison Square Park in New York City on January 30, 2023. 

A Mysterious Pink Pigeon in New York City Has Died

The bird may have been colored as part of a gender reveal

A female (left) and male (right) golden-shouldered parrot

Australia’s Most Endangered Parrot Faces an Unusual Threat: Trees

Native vegetation blocks the birds’ ability to see approaching predators

Red junglefowl, ancestors of wild chickens, are known to mix with domestic birds.

Why Chickens Need to Stop Breeding With Their Wild Cousins

The red junglefowl is losing important genetic diversity in its native Asian habitat

A Pasadena resident photographs a peacock as it spreads out its tail feathers on the front lawn of her home in 2021.

California City Relocates Noisy Peacocks

The colorful birds have sparked disputes between residents in South Pasadena, with some enjoying the animals and others wanting them gone

Humans have come up with a number of wacky methods to keep animals deemed "vermin" in check.

Seven of the Wildest and Weirdest Attempts to Curb Animal Pests

Why use fences or traps, when you can use deadly viruses or lustful snakes?

The current outbreak has led to the first case of avian flu in humans in the United States.

More Than 52 Million Birds in the U.S. Are Dead Because of Avian Flu

Many domestic birds have been culled to contain the disease, which is also spreading in wild flocks

Male great bustard (Otis tarda)

These Giant Birds Might Self-Medicate Their STIs

During the breeding season, great bustards consume two plants that may combat common pathogens

A golden-winged warbler perches on a branch in Minnesota. The bird’s declining population worries ornithologists.

More Than Half of U.S. Bird Populations Are Shrinking

An alarming report indicates that dozens of species are likely to become federally endangered without preventive action

A Haast's eagle hunts moa.

How a Giant Eagle Once Came to Dominate New Zealand

Before the formidable bird went extinct, scientists say it likely hunted the flightless moa

Spotless starling chicks use a bright yellow oil to enhance the color of their mouth, which scientists verified by rubbing a cotton swab over the area.

The Done-Up Bird Gets the Worm

Starling chicks apply their preening oil as a lipstick to get more food from their parents

A sulphur-crested cockatoo bows down at the Madrid Zoo Aquarium. The birds have been seen dancing to music and opening trash bins to get to food.

What Can Dancing Cockatoos Teach Us About Ourselves?

An evolutionary biologist demystifies bird intelligence in an excerpt from her new book

Ornithologist Edmund Selous made empathy for birds respectable and, in doing so, changed the world. Bird-watching became a popular pastime, eventually making birding scientific and playing a pivotal role in the animals’ conservation.

How Bird Collecting Evolved Into Bird-Watching

In the early 1900s, newfound empathy for avian creatures helped wildlife observation displace dispassionate killing

A California condor flies through Marble Gorge, east of Grand Canyon National Park in 2007

Four Critically Endangered Condors Released in Northern California

The Yurok Tribe has released one juvenile female and three males, the first birds to live in the region in more than 100 years

A woodpecker prepares to smash its beak against a tree. 

Woodpeckers Don’t Have Shock-Absorbing Skulls

The birds’ small brain size protects them from getting concussions, a new study finds

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

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