What are birds?
Birds are a group of endothermic vertebrates (maintain their own body temperature), characterised by having feathers a toothless beaked jaw which varies in shape and size. The lay hard-shelled eggs which are fertilized during copulation unlike amphibians and fish, however they are evolved from lizards sharing a similar reproductive stage. They have a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a lightweight but strong skeleton to allow for flight in some species. Their ability to fly and migrate (migration occurs when the seasons change and certain species move to warmer climates to breed and feed) has led to bird species existing worldwide and range in size and shape from the 5 cm bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m ostrich.
Bird species vary hugely from one family to another and are generally grouped into 30 different categories in relation to their size, shape, diet and behaviour. The largest grouping is the Passeriformes (perching birds) with more than 1,000 different genre existing within it, many of which are regarded as song birds due to their beautiful calls and sounds they sing to each other.
Birds provide 2 main ecosystem benefits which are similar to the benefits provided by mammals and some reptiles and amphibians. Through their dietary needs they provide pollination and seed dispersal for plants the foundations of every ecosystem. Some species disperse seeds so far from their origin that they reduce competition between the same specie individuals increasing genetic diversity, population size and location.
Birds are a huge benefit to humans through many different services such as:
- seed dispersal
- plant pollination
- public health by regulating pests that damage crops and carry disease
- Eco-tourism from wildlife orientated tourists
- Environmental monitors, much like amphibians they can indicate when ecosystems are becoming unhealthy
- decompose for dead carrion
- assist in military combat (WWI and WWII)
This is a continual project so our website will be regularly updated with new information and species, so be patient as some areas of the website may be incomplete.
If you have any pictures or information from or about the island please help us to improve our database by sending your information through to us via our contact page