Most people know a bird when they see one. It has feathers, wings and a bill. Birds are warm-blooded, and most species can fly. Many migrate hundreds or thousands of miles. Birds lay hard-shelled eggs (often in a nest), and the parents care for the young. Many communicate with special songs and calls.
Taxonomically, birds are a “class” of vertebrates. Other classes include the bony fishes, the amphibians, the reptiles, and the mammals.
Birds are subdivided into orders, including groups like:
- Ducks, geese, and swans
- Pheasants, grouse, turkeys, and quail
- Pigeons and doves
- Songbirds, or perching birds
About 350 species of birds are likely to be seen in Missouri, though nearly 400 species have been recorded within our borders. There are about 10,000 species of birds in the world.