10 Questions for Beginning Birdwatchers
Test Your Knowledge
If you want to get involved in birdwatching, you can make it more interesting by knowing some facts about birds. Test your bird knowledge by answering the following questions.
Birds get together in groups, and therefore are referred to by various names. For example, a group of owls is called a parliament.
1. Which of the following terms is not related to a group of birds?
A. A volery
B. A flight
C. A flock
D. A swarm
If you answered D or swarm, you are right. Swarm refers to a group of insects, not birds.
2. What is it called if you have a fear of birds?
The correct answer is B or Ornithophobia. Alektorophobia is related to the fear of birds, as it means a fear of chickens. Astraphobia means a fear of lightning, and Ouranophobia defines a fear of the sky or heaven. A bird definitely is not an ouranophobiac. Ouranophobia is also spelled Uranophobia.
3. Which of the following birds is not considered a raptor, or a bird of prey?
A. A falcon
B. A hobby
C. A kestrel
D. A francolin
If you answered D (a francolin), you are right. All the other birds are birds of prey. The francolin is one of a variety of African and Eurasian birds, coming from the genus Francolinus, or birds like quails and partridges. These birds normally are targets of birds of prey.
4. What is the collective term for crows?
A. A clutch
B. A murder
C. A sleuth
D. A clutter
The correct answer is a murder (of crows). The other collective terms refer to chicks (a clutch of chicks), bears (a sleuth of bears), and cats (a clutter of cats).
5. What is the largest living bird on the earth?
A. A condor
B. An emu
C. An ostrich
D. An eagle
The correct answer is C, an ostrich. The condor, which is critically endangered of becoming extinct, is the largest flying bird in North America. The condor is a vulture that frequents California as well as Arizona, especially the Grand Canyon.
Eagles are no longer classified as endangered. The emu, after its relative the ostrich, is the second largest land bird by height. It is part of a group of flightless birds, known as ratites. Extant ratites include ostriches, emus, cassowaries, and kiwis. Ratites lack the keel of other birds, which renders them flightless.
The emu is native to Australia while the ostrich roams freely on hot and dry African savannahs. The ostrich once prevailed over Africa, Arabia, and Asia. However, extensive hunting of the bird has limited its range to Africa.
6. What trait do the Trochilidae family of birds share?
A. They are all flightless.
B. They are birds of prey.
C. They are featherless.
D. They are the smallest birds.
The answer is D. This group includes the tiny hummingbird.
7. What is not the correct collective name for ducks?
A. A team
B. A raft
C. A paddling
D. A tower
The answer is D, a tower. Tower is a collective term for a group of falcons. A group of falcons can also be called an eyrie, a stooping up, or a bazaar.
Ducks, as a group, are commonly called a flock while any flying waterfowl (geese and ducks) are called a team, string, or skein. A group of ducks in the water may be referred to as a raft, paddling, or bunch. Any waterfowl in a group can also be called a plump.
8. How many eyelids do birds have?
The right answer is D, or 3 eyelids. Birds have a lower lid that closes when they sleep and an upper lid that looks like a human’s. A third eyelid, which is termed as a nictitating membrane, moves over the eye from the side, starting near the bird’s beak.
The nictitating membrane, or this third eyelid, is a moistening fold of skin that is both translucent and thin. It protects and safeguards the eye from bright light and the wind.
9. How long is the migration distances for seabirds?
A. 1,000 miles
B. 5,000 miles
C. 10,000 miles
D. 20,000 miles
Seabirds, which have the longest migrations of all birds, fly and migrate up to 20,000 miles yearly. The Arctic Tern, in this case, migrates the longest number of miles, or around the 20,000-mile mark.
10. Approximately how many species of birds are currently known and listed?
The correct answer is C. This number includes modern birds and extinct species.