Birds are truly amazing creatures, and ones that we encounter every day. There are around 18,000 species of birds, all with their own little quirks that make them unique. Between their vision, appearance, ability to fly, and much more, birds are as fascinating as they come. But out of the 50 billion birds that we share this planet with, which ones are the most unique? Here are some facts about birds that you have to see to believe.
5. Teeth Aren’t Teeth
In sort of the same way that you feel when someone tells you that rabbits lay eggs, you have to second guess what you just heard when someone says that birds have teeth. It just sounds like it’s possible, right? Well, it’s not a crazy thought, as there are several species of birds that at least appear to have teeth. However, those aren’t teeth that you’re seeing from birds like the Double-toothed Kite. Instead, these are ridges in the beaks that give off the unique appearance.
4. Poisonous Bird
When you think of poisonous animals, you’re probably thinking of snakes, scorpions or spiders. Birds are nowhere close to that list, but there is one type of bird that is actually toxic. This bird is the hooded pitohui, and thankfully for most of the world, it’s only found in New Guinea. The hooded pitohui looks like a common oriole and is found mostly in hills, and were found to be toxic back in 1990 due to a neurotoxin in their skin. With that said, it’s probably not a good idea to grab a bird anyway, but especially in New Guinea.
3. Eyes Are Smiling
If we were to ask you what land animal has the largest eyes, you would probably guess an elephant, rhinoceros, or something along that line. However, the largest eyes belong to the ostrich, which measure in at an average of 5 centimeters in diameter. An ostrich eye is so large, in fact, that they’re bigger than their brains. Bonus fun fact about bird eyes; owls don’t actually move their eyes, but instead move their heads around to see, which explains the impressive range they have.
2. Humming a Tune
Perhaps no single bird has as many fun intricacies as the hummingbird. Hummingbirds are the smallest of their species, and the only birds that can actually fly backwards. These little guys can travel over 500 miles in just one flight and don’t tend to land much as their super small legs only allow them to stand still for so long. Hummingbird hearts also work faster than just about anything, pumping out over 1,200 beats per minute during flight.
1. Beware of Cat
More than any other animal in the kingdom, the average cat poses the biggest threat to bird populations. If you’ve ever had a cat, you know it’s their natural instinct to find and chase birds. They’ll make that cute little weird noise when they see one and will be locked in visually. When cats are outdoors, they take it to the next level, and in the United States alone, more than 2.4 billion birds meet their maker each year thanks to furry felines.