Birds are one of magnificent living things. They are probably among the best loved animals in the world. We are captivated by their colourful form, intelligent actions and cheeky mannerisms. In the United States alone, there are about 500,000 members of National Audubon Society of America. While, U.K. have over 1,000,000 members. Members are dedicated in the protection of birds and they do bird watching to monitor them.
There are about 9 703 species of birds divided up into 23 orders, 142 families and 2 057 genera (Sibley and Monroe 1992). They can be found on all major land masses, over the seas and oceans. The total number of birds on the planet range from between 100,000 and 2000,000 million adult or near adult birds.
The most common bird in the world is the Red-billed Quelea that can be found in the south of the Sahara in Africa. There are so many birds like these that they are considered pests for eating the plants. Millions are getting killed and roasted every year in attempt to control their numbers. There are approximately 1.5 million Red-billed Quelea right now.
The rarest bird is difficult to say, there’s a large number of birds whose group are already rare. Some species have been rare for the longest time are the Sudanese Red Sea Cliff Swallow (Hirundo perdita) seen once in 1984 and the Orange-necked Partridge (Arborophila davidi) seen once in 1927.
Other birds are known or believed to be extinct in the wild but still have representatives living in captivity. A good example of this is the Spix’s Macaw (Cyanopsitta spiscii) hunted to the brink of extinction to satisfy the foolish demands of the pet trade.
Unfortunately, there are at least 115 species of birds that are to have gone extinct. The reason for extinction is mainly human interference. But there are efforts to make up for the mistakes done in the past.
The Mauritius Kestrel once used to be just 4 wild birds, but thanks to human effort, its numbers went back to 300. Another example is the Californian Condor, during 1987 there is only one male left and 27 birds were all in captivity. By 1994, there were 75 birds in captivity and 9 in all the world.
The largest bird can be measured in three possible ways, heaviest, tallest and longest wingspan. Apparently, all of the record holders for the three are already extinct. The heaviest bird was the extinct Dromornis stirtoni from Australia. This flightless giant lived between 1 and 15 million years ago and probably stood nearly 3m/10ft tall and weighed in at a massive 500kg/1100lb.
The tallest bird ever was, as far as we know, Dinornus maximus, a Giant Moa from New Zealand. While the bird with the longes wingspan is the The Giant Teratorn (Argentavis magnificens) had a wingspan of at least 6M/19.5ft and could possibly have been as large as 7.5m/25ft that was used to be in the United States.
The largest living bird is the Ostrich The heaviest flying bird is the Kori Bustard of Africa (Ardeotis kori), a number of specimens have been scientifically recorded weighing 19kg (42lb). M eanwhile, the smallest bird Bee Hummingbird from Cuba.
We can learn a lot from birds. Bird watching is never merely just watching them but also it is observing and learning from them and from nature.