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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Female Anna Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are small birds in the family Trochilidae, native only to the Americas. They are known for their ability to hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings, 15–80 times per second (depending on the species). Capable of sustained hovering, the hummingbird has the ability to fly deliberately backwards (this is the only group of birds able to do so or vertically, and to maintain position while drinking nectar or eating tiny arthropods from flower blossoms. They are named for the characteristic hum made by their wings.

The hummingbird is a small bird with a long, thin beak. This elongated beak is one of the defining characteristics of the hummingbird, which, with an extendable, bifurcated tongue, has evolved in order to allow the bird to feed upon nectar deep within flowers. A hummingbird's lower beak also has the unique ability to flex downward to create a wider opening, facilitating the capture of insects in the mouth rather than at the tip of the beak.

Colorful Budgerigar

The Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus, nicknamed budgie), the only species in the Australian genus Melopsittacus, is a small parrot belonging to the tribe of the broad-tailed parrots (Platycercini); these are sometimes considered a subfamily (Platycercinae). In the latter case, the Budgerigar is sometimes isolated in a tribe of its own, the Melopsittacini, although it is probably quite closely related to Pezoporus and Neophema. Though Budgerigars are often called Parakeets, especially in American English, this term refers to any of a number of small Parrots with long flat tails. The Budgerigar is found throughout the drier parts of Australia and has survived in the inlands of that continent for over 5 million years.

Budgerigars are nomadic birds found in open habitats, primarily in Australian scrubland, open woodland and grassland. The birds are normally found in small flocks, but can form very large flocks under favourable conditions. The species is extremely nomadic and the movement of the flocks is tied to the availability of food and water. Drought can drive flocks into more wooded habitat or coastal areas. They feed on the seeds of spinifex, grass weeds, and sometimes ripening wheat.