Barn Swallow (Birds)

ORDER Passeriformes FAMILY Hirundinidae GENUS & SPECIES Hirundo rustica KEY FEATURES • Nests close to humans— in barns I and derelict buildings, beside dams and beneath bridges • one of the most widespread birds in the world, its range has increased alongside human settlement • A swift and agile hunter of flying insects, it follows […]

Barn Owl (Birds)

ORDER Strigiformes FAMILY Tytonidae GENUS & SPECIES Tyto alba KEY FEATURES • Acute hearing lets it \ locate mice and voles in total darkness by the faint noises they make while moving or eating • Superbly sensitive binocular vision allows it to spot small mammals on the ground by day or in dim light • […]

Barn Swallow (Birds)

ORDER Passeriformes FAMILY Hirundinidae GENUS & SPECIES Riparia riparia KEY FEATURES • Spends most of its | life in the air, darting in light, aerobatic flight • Feeds mainly on flying insects, which it catches on the wing • Nests in steep, sandy banks, excavating a breeding tunnel that may be up to 3′ deep […]

Bateleur (Birds)

ORDER FAMILY Accipitridae GENUS & SPECIES Terathopius ecaudatus KEY FEATURES • Extremely large wingspan and a short tail give this eagle a unique flying style: it turns by banking like an aircraft, rather than using its tail as a steering rudder • Hunts on the wing, soaring above the ground before spiraling down to […]

Bee Hummingbird (Birds)

ORDER Apodiformes FAMILY Trochilidae GENUS & SPECIES Mellisuga helenae key features • The smallest known bird in the world, smaller even than some day-flying moth species • Beats its wings 50-80 times a second to maneuver in midair • Hovers in front of flowers to sip nectar from their petals • Male is territorial and […]

Belted Kingfisher (Birds)

ORDER Coraciiformes FAMILY Alcedinidae GENUS & SPECIES Megaceryle alcyon key features • Most prevalent kingfisher in North America • Hovers and plunges headfirst into the water to snatch a fish • Makes a loud, rattling call as it flies • The female lays her eggs at the end of a long tunnel near the water […]

Black-billed Magpie (Birds)

ORDER FAMILY Corvidae GENUS & SPECIES Pica pica key features • Notorious as a thief of shiny objects and a raider of other birds’ nests; the subject of more superstitions than any other bird • Unmistakable black and white plumage makes it one of the easiest birds to identify • An intelligent opportunist that […]

Black-browed Albatross (Birds)

ORDER FAMILY Diomedeidae GENUS & SPECIES Diomedea melanophris key features • One of the largest flying seabirds, the black-browed albatross conserves energy by gliding with locked wings • Lays one egg, much like its penguin relatives; chick has an exceptionally long period of flightless dependence where in the world? Widespread in the sub-Antarctic; breeds […]

Black-capped Chickadee (Birds)

ORDER Passeriformes FAMILY Paridae GENUS & SPECIES Parus atricapillus Has an extensive vocal range, which includes at least 15 calls and songs t Diverts and evades predators by “throwing its voice” as it calls t Families continue to forage together even after chicks have fledged where in the world? Found across most of the United […]

Black-crowned Night Heron (Birds)

ORDER Ciconiiformes FAMILY Ardeidae GENUS & SPECIES Nycticorax nycticorax key features • It can feed by night, usually to avoid competition with day-active species of heron that are better adapted to hunting in aquatic habitats • Large eyes help it spot prey — including aquatic creatures underwater — at dusk • Spends the daylight hours […]