A team of ornithologists were working on a small Moroccan island when they observed some rather bizarre behavior in adult falcons. The raptors appeared to be imprisoning tiny birds in the crevasses of rocks in an effort to keep them fresh for a later meal.
In past centuries, birdsong experts tried to distinguish mockingbirds from thrashers by keeping their ears peeled. These days, they’re better served by eagle eyes.
Add this picture quiz on common backyard birds to the list of things you never thought you'd care about but then actually became weirdly and unreasonably invested in once you tried them. What? Just me?
When it comes to birds, males—with their bright feathers, extra accessories, and impressive mating displays—tend to get all the attention. But for many birds, such as the Choco Toucan pictured above, brilliant plumage has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with survival.
You've probably never heard of the Maleo – the endangered creature is found exclusively on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. But it is a fascinating animal.
Although all birds rely on internal fertilization for reproduction, the males of just 3% of bird species actually possess penises —instead, males and females alike invert and bring together their cloacas, a basic opening through which all the birds' various bodily emissions pass.
The other day, we learned that parrots love the Scissor Sisters — news that Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears was overjoyed to discover.
As humans, we can start a conversation with someone else and be pretty confident they will know we're talking to them. This is one of those things that's so basic we forget to even take it for granted. But this is much, much trickier for parrots — and it might explain their gift for mimicry.
It's sometimes suggested humans are the only species that truly understands the concept of the death. But now researchers have discovered that humans aren't the only creatures who hold funerals.
It might be a little irritating when people tell you to fit more sleep into your already overloaded schedule, but they're not wrong — all across the animal kingdom, less sleep means worse performance. With one rather large, sex-mad exception.
Cuckoo finches are bad news to other birds. They are brood parasites, meaning they lay eggs in other species's nests to trick their victims into raising the finches' children as their own. This kicked off a supercharged evolutionary arms race.
At first glance, the behavior of scrub jays seems like a sign of intelligence. Whenever they notice another bird looking at their food, they will hide their food as far away as possible...then start doing that over and over again.
Because of its extreme isolation from any other major landmass, New Zealand's unique native ecosystem is literally for the birds. And these rather elegant-looking penguins briefly dominated this bird paradise, back when New Zealand was mostly underwater.
This is the northern wheatear, a tiny insect-eating Arctic bird. Every year, half of the species travels 4,500 miles over Greenland, across the Atlantic, and down through Europe to reach western Africa. And the other half's journey is even more insane.
What you're looking at here is a screenshot from one of the fifty so-called "Spatio-Temporal Exploratory Model" or "STEM" Maps published over on ebird.org — some of the most advanced models of birds' migratory patterns ever released.
To attract females, male great bowerbirds of Australia build huge, elaborate structures called bowers. They're impressive structures, complete with courtyard and triumphal arch. But the males also use forced perspective to make themselves look more impressive to prospective mates.
Few people can resist the urge to doodle in the margins when confronted with a long-drawn presentation, lecture, or meeting — but few of us can make a page of scientific instruction look as stunning as Paula Swisher, the artist behind the captivating pieces seen here.