- Pets and Animals
10 Most Fascinating Facts of National Birds [1st-part]
10. Falcon - National Bird of UAE
Falcon is medium-sized bird of prey that belongs to the family of falcons and caracaras. There are 37 species of falcon that can be found all over the world except on the Antarctica (most species reside in the temperate parts of the northern hemisphere). Falcons have appeared on the planet 8 to 24 million years ago and managed to adapt to the life in nearly all types of habitats: Arctic tundra, deserts, coastal areas, mountains, forests and tropical rain forests. Unfortunately, as a result of habitat destruction, pesticide poisoning, illegal hunting and collecting of egg from the wild, some species of falcon are classified as vulnerable or endangered.
Interesting Falcon Facts:
1. Falcon can reach 9 to 19 inches in height and 1.5 to 2.6 pounds of weight.
2. Most species of falcon are dark brown or grey-coloured with white, yellow and black spots and markings on the body.
3. Falcon has hooked beak, aerodynamic body, pointed wings and strong talons.
4. Falcon is active during the day (diurnal animal).
5. Falcon is a carnivore. Its diet is based on rodents, frogs, fish, bats and small birds.
6. Falcon is the fastest animal on the planet. It can reach speed of 200 miles per hour when it rushes toward the prey. Tapered wings allow quick change of direction during the flight.
7. Falcon has keen eyesight which facilitates detection of potential prey. It collects prey in the mid-air, from the ground and water with equal ease.
8. Falcon is a solitary bird. It can spend entire life in the same area, or migrate up to 15.000 miles per year on its way from the wintering grounds to the breeding areas.
9. Adult falcons do not have much natural enemies. Unlike adults, eggs and chicks are often preyed by large species of eagle and owls.
10. Mating season of falcons takes place during the spring.
11. Males perform various twists, rapid dives and other acrobatics in the air to attract females. As a part of a courtship, males provide food for the females ("gift" kept in talons is offered to a female in the mid-air).
12. Falcons mate for a lifetime. They build nest on the small ledges or in the caves on the tall cliffs. Bridges and skyscrapers are often used for nesting in the urban areas. Female lays 3 to 4 eggs that hatch after incubation period of around 30 days.
13. Chicks of some species, such as peregrine falcon, grow very fast. They double their birth weight after 6 days and increase it tenfold by the age of 3 weeks. Young birds reach sexual maturity at the age of one year.
14. Falcons are used in falconry for at least 3000 years. They were very popular during the WWII due to ability to intercept pigeons that were carrying various messages.
15. Falcon has an average lifespan of around 15 years.
9. European Robin - National Bird of UK
The European robin is perhaps the best known of all British birds. It is a common visitor to gardens and once attracted to food put out on a bird table, it will return to it all winter through.Every continent has its own robins, but only the Japanese and Ryukyu robins are closely related.
Features of the robin include its distinctive red breast and face, grey under parts, brown head, wings and tail. Their flight is distinguishable by rapid wing beats for short, fast flight.The best way to see a robin in your garden is to dig. Within minutes one may perch on a fence or branch nearby waiting to inspect the newly-turned soil for earthworms.
The robin has a distinctive and beautiful sounding call. It will sing to proclaim territory and attract a mate and usually sings all year round, although it is quieter in late summer when it molts.
Nearly three quarters of robins in Britain die before they are one year old, either caught by predators or unable to fend for themselves. Ten per cent of older robins die defending their territory.
Robins are fiercely territorial over food supply. Not more than one robin will occupy a small garden, unless it is his mate. When their food source becomes scarce in winter they will eat just about anything put out for them on a bird table, especially fatty foods such as bacon rind and cheese.
Interesting Robin facts:
1. In winter, the robin puffs up its plumage to insulate its body against cold winds.
2. When the male robin has found a mate, he will strengthen their bond by bringing the female food, such as worms and caterpillars, which she begs for noisily while quivering her wings and is often mistaken by the observer to be the mother feeding the young.
3. Once the female has laid her eggs, she stays in the nest for up to two weeks, crouching low over them, well concealed with only her brown back visible. The male brings her food, sometimes as often as three times in an hour.
4.Both parents take responsibility when feeding and looking after their chicks until they are two weeks old when they can fly and become fully independent. They pair up for the breeding season (April to June) only.
5. Birds which raise an early brood are more likely to have a second or third brood in the same year. The female will sit on the clutch of 5-7 eggs while the male continues to feed and look after the year’s first fledglings.
6. Did you know that postmen used to be called robins because of their red tunics and the reason the robin is associated with Christmas cards is because these were delivered by the red-coated postmen ‘robins’?
7. The British affection for the robin, where-by they are known to be friendly and sociable birds with gardeners’ is not shared elsewhere in Europe, where they are shot for food or for sport.
8. Emu - National Bird of Australia
Emu is the second largest bird on the planet (after ostrich) and the largest bird in Australia, where it lives. It prefers life in woodlands, scrublands, grasslands and forests. Emu is a flightless bird whose ancestors lived at the same time as dinosaurs. They share certain anatomical features, such as bones and ankles, with dinosaurs. Three species of emus existed in the past, but two had been hunted to extinction. People hunt emu because of its feather, meat and fat.
Interesting Emu Facts:
1. Emu is very large bird. Females are slightly larger. Emu reaches between 5 and 6.5 feet in height. It can weigh up to 130 pounds.
2. Emu has long neck, sharp beak and small ears. Its body is covered with light-brown feathers. Each feather has a double shaft. Emu has small wings which provide stability during running.
3. Emu has two eyelids. One eyelid is used for blinking, while other prevents dust and sand to enter the eyes.
4. Emu has three toes on each foot. Their legs are strong and built for running. Also, they use legs for kicking the predators when faced with danger.
5. Emu requires water on a daily basis. During cold weather, they recycle air in the nasal passages for creating the moisture that can be used.
6. Unlike water, emu can survive long periods without food. It stores fat that is used as a source of energy when the food is scarce.
7. Emu is an omnivore (eats both plants and animals). It likes to eat caterpillars, large insects, small lizards, rodents, flowers, seed, buds and shoots.
8. Emu swallows small rocks and pebbles to facilitate grinding of food and accelerate digestion.
9. Emus are usually solitary animals, but they sometimes travel in pair. Emu can gather in flocks when large quantity of food is available.
10. Emu is a fast running animal. It can reach 30 miles per hour.
11. Emu is also excellent swimmer. It can easily cross the river while looking for food and new feeding areas. Emu can travel thousands of miles each year.
12. Emu mates during summer and lays eggs during cooler months. Female lays between 8 and 10 eggs. Since the eggs are large, female lays one egg every 2 to 3 days.
13. Eggs are dark green in color, have thick shell and weight of around one pound. Male sits on eggs during the next 8 weeks, until they are ready to hatch. During that time, male does not eat but uses stored fats as a source of energy.
14. Emu chicks are active as soon as they hatch. Their body is covered with stripes of brown and creamy-colored soft feathers that provide camouflage. After three months, their plumage starts looking like feathers of adult animals.
15. Emu can survive between 5 and 10 years in the wild.
7. Gallic Rooster - National Bird of France
Which is commonly used as an emblem of France. The Latin word Gallus stand for two different meanings at the same time. It means “Rooster” and “Inhabitant of Gaul”. Many old coins were found there where roosters were bored on it but the tribes of Gaul was not used animals as there emblem. After then the national bird of France set as a symbol of Rooster shared most widely the representation of French People. French people took the rooster in their heart as a symbol of their nation. Despite of the strange legacy, the cock has great symbolic value as a means of its faith and light. Every morning crowing of cock is the triumph of light over the darkness and goodness over evils.
Interesting Facts of Gallic Rooster
1. The word Gallus have dual meaning, its Latin word which means Rooster and this reference was used for the people of Gaul, present as a France.
2. Roosters were grown domestically for the purpose of cock fighting even not for food.
3. Male chicken is called as Rooster and females are known as hen.
4. Roosters can fly but due to their heavy weight they cannot jump more than 60 meter in air (about 200 feet).
5. Rooster have good hearing power but at same time bad sense of smell.
6. Hens can lay eggs about 240 in a year.
7. They are Omnivores, they eat worms, grains, fruits, snails and insects and like that they also eat mice and lizards also.
8. A rooster produce a sound of took, took, took, when found the food to get announce to all of the flock of chicken.
9. Female hen gives preference to those male which often dance and larger crest on their heads.
10. Female hen mate different males for reproduction but when she decides, and can eject the sperm if she don’t want that particular male offspring.
6. Green pheasant - National Bird of Japan
The Male has a green crown, throat blue, neck purple violet, the mantle is green with small stripes on the bottom; back and rump green, tinted in olive or light gray color; Dark olive with black and pink trim on the edges. The light gray cover with a dye of greenish blue, the national bird of Japan is the most marked with chestnut; the feathers of flight as in the common pheasants. Strong gray legs with spur. Light colored eye.
The basically brown female has the dark part of the feathers of the black mantle and becomes the edges in paler brown; the legs are strong to be females.Green Pheasants are still common in Japan and is the most popular game bird in that country. Laws forbid the release of Phasianus colchicus in most areas of Japan. The Green Pheasant rarely comes into contact with Japan's other endemic pheasant, the Copper Pheasant, but there have been a few reports of hybrids in the wild.
Interesting Facts about Green Pheasant
1. The male Green Pheasant is quite unique for its distinctive dark green plumage, violet neck, red face and purple-green tail.
2. The colorful Green Pheasant is endemic to Japan and is the "national bird" of Japan. It is also informally called Japanese Pheasant.
3. Summer brings many threats to young pheasants, and approximately 35 percent of the chicks die in the first 6 to 10 weeks following hatching.
4. Hens will adopt strays or chicks who have lost their own mothers, and a hen with young of two or more age groups is not uncommon.
5. In late summer and early fall, pheasants are often found in areas where they are likely to find a good source of insects and greens.
6. Adult roosters molt in late July and early August and become quite secretive. Until their new feathers have grown, they are seldom seen.
7. As fall approaches, pheasants disband as family groups, and young pheasants begin to assert their independence.