In the avian world, most males perform elaborate courtship dances and displays to attract a mate. A male peacock spreads his extravagant tail feathers and rattles them. Female peafowl have a crest of feathers on their heads that allows them to sense this rattling and respond to the mating call.
For the blue-footed booby, it’s all about the feet. Theirs is a strutting strategy to flaunt their feet, whereas the red-capped manakin has been observed moonwalking! For grebes, the display includes walking on water, and a couples dance routine that would put the waltz to shame.
Perhaps most fascinating (or bizzare) is the frigate’s courtship display which involves inflating it’s red gular sac/pouch at the base of it’s bill. Once it balloons, he clacks his beak, and produces a sound like a drumbeat. Meanwhile, the females fly overhead and assess their options. Once they’ve chosen their mate, they’ll swoop down and hug and kiss; that is, they intertwine their necks and clack their bills together.
All in all, birds are really interesting creatures, and one does not have to be an ornithologist to enjoy their beauty and charisma. Can you identify some or all of these big birds? Find out with this quiz.
#1. A large flightless bird with a long neck and impressive running speeds.
#2. This bird is the national bird of India.
Only the males are called peacocks. Females are called peahens while their offspring are called peachicks.
#3. This bird is the national bird of Uganda.
Fun Fact: The crested cranes cluster around flocks of livestock to prevent predators from being able to approach them as easily.
#4. A large wading bird that hunts in shallow waters.
Fun fact: Storks are considered voiceless or nearly so, because they lack of a fully developed vocal organ.
#5. A water bird that feeds on fish, amphibians, crustaceans and other birds.
Pelicans have a large, fibrous skin pouch that dangles from their bill. It is called the gular pouch or a gular sac and is used for capturing food.
#6. A large bird best known for scavenging.
Fun Fact: A group of vultures is called a committee, venue or volt. In flight, a group of vultures is called a kettle and when feeding at a carcass, the group is referred to as a wake.
#7. This bird is the national emblem of the United States of America.
Fun Fact: Bald eagles mate for life. The males are known to keep their female mates interested with impressive sky dances and also participate in incubation.
#8. A bird of prey that is well known for its ability to rotate its neck up to 270 degrees.
Fun Fact: Not all owls hoot. Barn Owls make hissing sounds. The Eastern Screech-Owl whinnies like a horse, and Saw-whet Owls sound like an old whetstone sharpening a saw.
#9. An aquatic, flightless bird best known for living in frozen landscapes.
Fun Fact: Though most people associate penguins with snow and ice, they can also be spotted in forests in New Zealand, on volcanic islands of the Galapagos, and some beaches of southern Africa.
#10. The world's largest bird associated with the idiom, 'to bury one's head in the sand'.
A group of ostriches is called a herd. Male ostriches are ‘polygamous’. They mate with several females although the herd will typically have an alpha hen who only mates with the alpha male.
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