Types of Birds

EACH OF US WAS BORN into a world of incredible diversity of animal and plant life. Throughout our lives most of us marvel at the diversity and uniqueness of life. We visit zoos and watch nature programs on television and are astounded by the strangeness of the creatures we see. The information on this page will help you to become more familiar with just a few of our "feathered friends".


boat billed heron Boat-billed Heron
Boat-billed herons seem to be strongly nocturnal, very similar to black-crowned night herons. By day they preen and roost quietly in dense mangrove thickets near feeding areas, venturing out at dusk to forage.

Distressed herons often rattle their bills, sounding similar to toucans and roadrunners.They hunt in the wade and stab manner of other herons, but switch to touch feeding during breeding season. They rely more on acoustic signals that penetrate the mangrove tangle, instead of visual signals characteristic of most heron communication. This would make sense with a nocturnal animal. They have been known to eat small mammals.


bleeding heart dove Bleeding Heart Dove
Bleeding heart doves are virtually completely terrestrial, seldom going even into low bushes. They do, however, nest off the ground. They are nearly silent and very secretive, slipping quietly under dense vegetation.

Bleeding hearts are typical pigeons in their nesting habits. They nest low in shrubs, pulling a few sticks and leaves together in a pocket of dense foliage. One or two eggs are laid. Both parents set and rear the chicks. They regurgitate crop milk to the chicks.


flamingo Greater Flamingo
These are highly gregarious birds and will not breed unless in large numbers. The flamingos have a unique communal display, consisting of flapping, posturing, preening and quite a bit of noise. Most of the flamingo's day is spent filter feeding in shallow water. They usually migrate at night, flying with outstretched necks and legs.

Flamingos get their color from the crustaceans that they eat, and they would lose their color in the zoo if they were not fed a dye called flamen oil or some other dietary beta-keratin color additive.



sacred ibis Sacred Ibis
It is a gregarious bird, living, traveling and breeding in flocks. When they fly, they hold their necks straight out in front with their long legs trailing behind. In flight they alternate flapping wings and soaring, they often form diagonal lines of flight, with each bird a little behind and to one side of the bird ahead. It is a rather quiet bird and the only notes ever heard from them are a low grunting or a croaking on the breeding grounds.

Ibises feed on a wide variety of small animals, vertebrates and invertebrates. They also feed on grasshoppers, locust, insects and their larvae, amphibians, and other small aquatic animals.


whistling ducks Whistling Ducks
All species of the tribe Dendrocygnini vocalize with a very un-duck like reedy whistle, hence the name of whistling duck. The female's voice is slightly lower.

The term "tree duck" is not generally used any more because many species are not arboreal. Neither are they true ducks, being actually classified with geese. Some species call continuously, even in flight but at least one species (the Indian Whistling Duck = D. javanica) has special primary feathers that produce the in-flight whistle.

Whistling ducks are nocturnal, resting and preening during the day. Many whistling ducks do not dive, the whiteface does.


canada goose Canada Goose
Migration is by day or night and their constant calls can be heard for a great distance. When migrating, geese often fly at considerable altitude. Distance flying by a flock is in a V-formation, which may have secondary V's on either or both legs of the main V. Flying just off your leader's wing tip cuts turbulence, and creates a slip-stream, a suction that allows you to fly with less energy expended. Periodically, leaders drop back into the V to rest, another taking over the lead for a time.

Geese often stop in stubble fields to feed on migration, and some farmers deliberately leave grain in the fields for them. Other farmers object strongly. Stubble fields along the fly-ways are important refueling stops since we humans have removed most of their natural feeding areas.