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The Life of Birds

Updated on October 1, 2014

The Life of Birds with David Attenborough

The Life of Birds is a fantastic, ten-part documentary BBC television series first broadcast in 1998. Narrated by David Attenborough, The Life of Birds contains some of the most memorable footage of bird behaviour ever seen, including many species never filmed before: it is a wonderful series and a must see for any bird lover from armchair bird enthusiast to serious ornithologist, indeed, it is bound to convert many non-birdwatchers into bird enthusiasts.

Click here to read customer reviews of The Life of Birds

For those interested in watching amazing bird videos, try my lens; 10 Bird Video Clips you Must See.

Who Has Watched The BBC Series The Life Of Birds?

Barnacle Geese by Peter Ericsson
Barnacle Geese by Peter Ericsson

Have you seen The Life of Birds

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The Life Of Birds - The Complete Series On DVD

I have been birdwatching for more than 30 years and have studied ecology and evolution and this is the most accessible way of learning about all three that I have ever seen. The Life of Birds really is television of the highest class - a must for all nature lovers.

If you are not a bird lover before watching The Life of Birds you will be afterwards.

The Life of Birds
The Life of Birds
The Life of Birds is the best documentary on bird behaviour and evolution ever made and it is hard to see how it could ever be surpassed. With ten parts on subjects which include flight, communication, reproduction and feeding this is a collection which never forgotten once seen. I cannot recommend this series highly enough; it has the authority of David Attenborough stamped all over it.
Lyrebird from Life of Birds
Lyrebird from Life of Birds

Superb Lyrebird - The Most Memorable Footage Of Bird Behaviour Ever!

The Life of Birds is a must see series for the footage in episode 6 of the Superb Lyrebird alone. This piece of film was voted the British public's favourite moment from a David Attenborough series which, considering David's long and memorable career, is a huge recommendation.

The footage of the Superb Lyrebird shows it mimicking perfectly the sound of a camera shutter and the camera's motor drive, a car alarm and most incredibly the sound of a chainsaw and splintering trees.

Whether you are a birdwatcher or not this sight and sound is something unforgettable - many of my non-birding friends have watched it and were quite amazed.

Amazing Lyrebird Video Clip - You Won't Forget This In A Hurry

A Superb Lyrebird mimics the sound of a camera, car alarm and a chainsaw!

Episode 1: To Fly Or Not To Fly

Birds first took to the air one hundred and fifty million years ago. When the dinosaurs disappeared, some birds abandoned flight and made a bid to take over the earth. And some are still doing so today.

Episode 2: The Mastery Of Flight

Speed, endurance and unrivalled agility are the hallmarks of the aces of the skies. But what are the secrets of their aeronautical skills?

Episode 3: The Insatiable Appetite

A huge diversity of bill shapes and sizes have evolved to cope with all the most difficult-to-find foods. Even so, some birds have to use two tools to help them.

Episode 4: Meat Eaters

Flesh is a rich source of energy, but both hunters and scavengers need incredible strategies and skills to compete for their elusive prey.

Episode 5 : Fishing For A Living

The earth's vast areas of fresh and salt water are a cornucopia of millions of birds from humble filter feeders to majestic fish eagles.

Episode 6: Signals & Songs

Communication - by beautiful songs and extraordinary patterns of colour makes everything possible, from deterring predators and intimidating rivals, to impressing potential mates.

Episode 7 : Finding Partners

Extraordinary displays and bizarrely beautiful mating rituals play a vital part in the crucial business of attracting - and keeping - a mate.

Episode 8 : The Demands Of The Egg

The drive to reproduce is fraught with danger, from the battle for a nest site to the unrelenting threat of predators.

Episode 9 : The Problems Of Parenthood

With insatiable appetites to provide for and the need for unfailing vigilance, bringing up baby is a full-time job that requires some very special skills.

Episode 10 : The Limits OF Endurance

In the unending struggle for survival, changes and disasters wrought by both nature and man create new challenges that must constantly be met and overcome.

Some Other Highlights From The Life Of Birds

There are so many wonderful moments in this series it is difficult to mention only a few. Apart from the superb Lyrebird there is some incredible footage of courtship behaviour of a number of species of Birds of Paradise, beautiful pictures of Hummingbirds feeding from nectar feeders in a man's garden, an enthralling aerial battle between 2 Sea Eagles and unique footage of a male Kakapo inflating himself in order to give his booming call.

One of my favourite moments from the Life of Birds is the incredible Bowerbird "temple" which resembles a cave woven from straw, containing an altar and piles of pink flowers and beetle wings as decoration to attract a mate - quite wonderful!

More Video Clips From The Life of Birds

The Life of Birds Book - Read David Attenborough's Narration

The Life of Birds
The Life of Birds
David Attenborough's wonderful writing is complemented by fantastic photographic stills from the television series. This is a superb education in bird behaviour and a useful starting point to further studies in ecology. Here is a short book review of The Life Of Birds.

Other Great BBC Wildlife Documentaries - More wildlife documentaries of the highest quality

The BBC and David Attenborough have collaborated to produce a number of excellent wildlife series over the years. Here are some of the best.

David Attenborough's Autobiography - Life On Air

David Attenborough: Life on Air
David Attenborough: Life on Air
A fantastically written and absorbing book. This is written with David Attenborough's usual enthralling style. He recounts anecdotes from his whole life of working for the BBC, including early, pioneering trips for the first wildlife television programmes and his time as a BBC controller. Fascitating, amusing and informative, this is a must for fans of this expert wildlife documentary maker.
10 Amazing Bird Videos
10 Amazing Bird Videos

Amazing Bird Behavior - Ten Bird Video Clips

If you have seen Life of Birds and enjoyed it then you should check out my lens of 10 Bird Video Clips, where I have showcased 11 (I found one more I couldn't resist after making the lens) superb video clips showing some amazing bird behaviour. The Lyrebird is there again and so is an amazing dancing Bowerbird and a shoplifting seagull; take a look.

Ten Amazing Bird Video Clips

These bird videos will turn you into a bird enthusiast.

101 Ways To Help Birds

101 Ways To Help Birds
101 Ways To Help Birds
Bird lovers of all levels can learn a lot in this book to enable them to help birds. Covers many aspects of helping birds from bird feeding to campaigning. An excellent addition to a bird lover's book collection, even after 30 years of birding I learned a lot here.

I think that the Lyrebird is hard to beat but if you have another favourite moment from The Life of Birds please let me know.

Do You Like The Life of Birds? Please Leave A Comment

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      One of the best series on birding and bird life ever.... great footage - especially of the lyrebird and the kiwi. David Attenborough is at his best in this series!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very informative lens.The Life of Birds videos are very nice.Thanks for sharing. Work Plan Platform

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      The life of birds takes a joy to learn and comprehend.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image


      10 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      What a wonderful series to learn about birds! Fav 5* and added to my 'Birds of the Air' lens. Thanks for a cool page! My son will love watching these! :)

    • wilddove6 profile image


      10 years ago

      This is my FAVORITE series on birds! There is no better!

      I've watched mine over and over again and never tire of it.

      Great lens!

      Wing high five!

    • dustytoes profile image


      10 years ago

      Wow that Lyrebird video is awesome! And a bit sad. My 11 year old son and I watched it and he was amazed too. Fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens. I love watching birds in my area!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Wow! Very impressive lens especially the Lyre Bird, I enjoy a lot..Really I'm so impressed with this very unique creature...5 impressive stars for you..

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      12 years ago

      Bird watching is the second largest hobby in America, second only to gardening. I love to garden but I would rather just sit and watch the birds.

    • DogWhisperWoman1 profile image


      12 years ago

      Sometimes I sit and watch the wild birds native to here. They are so interesting to watch. 5* Pitbull Dog

    • Gatsby LM profile image

      Gatsby LM 

      12 years ago

      5* I learned a lot here. I know little about wild birds but I learn every chance I get. Solve Dog Behavior Problems

    • Classic LM profile image

      Classic LM 

      12 years ago

      Thanks for submitting this great lens to my group Nature and Environment! Gave you 5*s! If you have time, please visit my lenses. Thank you! Keep the great stuff coming!

    • GramaBarb profile image


      12 years ago from Vancouver

      Great lens! 5*'s Enjoyed your photographs on birds and butterflies on shareapic too!

    • GramaBarb profile image


      12 years ago from Vancouver

      Nice to meet another David Attenborough fan! I love those DVD's too. 5 *'s!

    • TiffanyAndLewis profile image


      12 years ago

      That's AMAZING! I had no idea this bird could be such a PERFECT mimic!


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