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Birds & Bats
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Shoebill
The Shoebill, Balaeniceps rex also known as Whalehead is a very large bird related to the storks. It derives its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill. The Shoebill is a very large bird, averaging 1.2 m (4 ft) tall, 5.6 kg (12.3 lbs) and 2.33 m (7.7 ft) across the wings. The adult is mainly grey, the juveniles are browner. It lives in tropical east Africa, in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia. The Shoebill was added rather recently to the ornithological lists; the species was only discovered in the 19th century when some skins were brought to Europe. It was not until years later that ...
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Spiders - Survival strategies
Spiders use many strategies to protect themselves from their enemies. One of the most amazing of these is called autotomy. This is the spider's ability to self-amputate a leg that has been grabbed by a bird or other predator. Usually the leg breaks off close to the body, at the coxa-trochanter joint. Even more amazingly, juvenile spiders can regenerate their legs - a tiny, segmented leg grows within the coxal stump and appears at the next moult. Other strategies include behavioural ploys, like direct threat displays of warning colours on the spider's body, or escaping a predator by...
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Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)
The emu is the largest bird in Australia, and the second largest in the world after the ostrich. Emus have long necks, sharp beaks and small ears. They have two sets of eyelids, one for blinking and one to keep out the dust. Their feet are long, with three toes. One toe on each foot has a long talon, for fighting. Emu feathers are soft and light-brown with dark tips. Each feather has a double shaft. Emus can grow to between 5 to 6.5 feet (1.5 2 metres) in height and weigh up to 130 pounds (60 kg). Males are slightly smaller than females. Males make a grunting sound like a pig and...
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Polish Frizzle Chicken
Created in Holland
The Frizzle Poland was created in Holland by Mr Airie Bolan. His inspiration came from a painting by Van Gink, a famous artist. It started with the use of long legged Japanese Bantam Frizzle. It took several years to create but, between 1989 and 1991, the Frizzle Poland became recognised giving us a superb new breed. Today the popularity of the Frizzle Poland is extremely high and is now also standardised by the British Poultry Club.
Rate:  (4.3)
Location: Birds & Bats
Aggressive Eagle Captured
A man found an eagle's egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air. Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat on his strong golden wings. The ol...
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Maybe Birdbrains Are in Fact Clever
by Gareth Huw Davies
The scene: a traffic light crossing on a university campus in Japan. Carrion crows and humans line up patiently, waiting for the traffic to halt. When the lights change, the birds hop in front of the cars and place walnuts, which they picked from the adjoining trees, on the road. After the lights turn green again, the birds fly away and vehicles drive over the nuts, cracking them open. Finally, when its time to cross again, the crows join the pedestrians and pick up their meal. If the cars miss the nuts, the birds sometimes hop back and put them somewhere else on the road. Or they sit...
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"Telepathic" Parrot Sparks Rethink
A parrot with a 950-word vocabulary, a sense of humour and alleged telepathic powers is forcing a rethink of the scope for animals and humans to communicate. The 6-year-old captive-bred African grey called N'kisi is one of the most advanced users of human language in the animal world. The bird uses words in context, with past, present and future verb tenses. And, like small children, it resorts to creativity to describe new ideas - for instance saying "flied" for flew and inventing the phrase "pretty smell medicine" to indicate the aromatherapy oils used by his owner, a New York-based a...
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Dalmatian
The spotted Dalmatian is the most distinctly patterned breed of any dog, but the origin of its coat pattern is unknown. In fact, although art evidence points to an ancient origin, the time and place of the breed's birth is also unknown. It gets it name from Dalmatia, a region in western Yugoslavia, but it probably did not originate there. Their ancestors may have included a small version of the spotted Great Dane or pointers, though this, too, is conjectural. Even the breed's original function is unclear, but that is more likely because of its use in so many roles rather than any lack ...
Rate:  (3.6)
Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)
Order: Piciformes, Family: Picidae
Woodpeckers range in size, from 6 to 9 inches long. Small to midsize birds, they cling to the trunks and large branches of trees and large cactus with their sharp claws. Their short legs and stiff, spine-tipped tails help them stay vertical. They have long, pointed, chisel-like bills that enable them to bore into wood. Twice the length of its bill, the woodpecker's narrow tongue is tipped with spear-like barbs, which the bird uses to impale wood-boring insects. Male and female woodpeckers look very similar, except males have a red or yellow patch on their head that is lacking o...
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Hornbill
The hornbill is a big, spectacular bird with a massive "double-story" bill consisting of a long, deep beak with a projection (known as a casque) on top. Hornbills usually have large heads, thin necks, broad wings and long tail feathers. There are 46 species of hornbill in Borneo, with the four most prominent being the black, pied, rhinoceros and wreathed hornbills. All are basically blackish or dark brown in color, and most have markings of white and other colors.
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Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Order: Falconiformes, Family: Accipitridae
The golden eagle is about 30 to 40 inches in length and weighs between 9 and 13 pounds. Its wingspan can be as wide as 7.5 feet, which makes the golden eagle the largest predatory bird in North America. The tail of the golden eagle is grayish brown, while the head, body and other feathers on the wings are typically black in color. The feathers at the head and nape of the eagle's neck are golden brown. Adult eagles have dark brown eyes, while their bill and claws are black. Their cere (a waxy, fleshy area at the base of the beak) and feet are yellow, and their legs are feathered...
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Location: Birds & Bats
Common Raven (Corvus corax)
Order: Passeriformes, Family: Corvidae
The raven is a large, black bird (the largest of all entirely black birds) with a wedge-shaped tail. It calls frequently, and has a peculiar hoarse, resonant croak. The sexes are very similar physically, although the female is smaller. The raven's range is widespread to say the least. It encompasses northwest Europe, Britain, Holarctic, Greenland (mainly coastal areas), Iceland, northern Scandinavia, east to Pacific, central Asia to the Himalayas and northwest India, Iran and the Near East, northwest Africa and Canary Islands, North and Central America.
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Total results: 12