Articles on Birds

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Eastern-yellow robin. Some 60 per cent of the native birds of south-east mainland Australia have lost more than half of their natural habitat. Graham Winterflood/Wikimedia Commons

Most native bird species are losing their homes, even the ones you see every day

Aside from their intrinsic value, common bird species might be one of the only ways we connect with nature in our everyday lives. But these opportunities are under threat.
Vocal learning in birds is a lot like how people learn language. Alexandra Giese/Shutterstock.com

Complex birdsongs help biologists piece together the evolution of lifelong learning

Could mating preferences, like females preferring males who sing complex songs, affect the evolution of learning? Insights from birds could have clues for how people learn throughout their lives.
A male Olive-backed Euphonia (Euphonia gouldi), photographed in Costa Rica. Andy Morffew

Why do birds sing?

Birds spend a lot of time and energy singing, but they don't do it the same way in every season of the year. And some can't sing at all. What's the purpose of birdsong?
Yolks are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins packaged up by the female animal for an embryo. Emily Nunell/The Conversation CC-NY-BD

Curious Kids: why do eggs have a yolk?

A yolk allows a developing animal to stay in an egg longer, boosting its chance of survival. The downside is the mother has to work hard finding extra food so her body can create a nutritious yolk.
Chicken or rooster? This bird is both – female on the left (dark feathers), and male on the right (white feathers, with larger comb and physique). Mike Clinton (Roslin Institute)

How birds become male or female, and occasionally both

Birds have some of the most amazing sex differences of any animal. They can control the sex of offspring, and even produce rare half-male, half-females. And their sex genes and chromosomes are quite different from ours.

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