Birds of different feathers!

Let's jump from the smallest to the biggest

AutrucheMuseum d'histoire naturelle et préhistoire de Nîmes

Ostriches are ratites: a group of mostly large, flightless birds. It includes rheas, emus, kiwis …

These birds with powerful legs do not fly … or at least not anymore. 

Casoar à casqueMuseum d'histoire naturelle et préhistoire de Nîmes

Due to their terrestrial habits, their common ancestors lost their wishbone. Their feathers are very flexible, and in some species the forelimbs are short.

AutrucheMuseum d'histoire naturelle et préhistoire de Nîmes

Ostriches are the largest birds still in existence following the disappearance of the Aepyornis named Elephant-bird (Madagascar) and the  Dinornis named Moa (New Zealand) in the 15th century. 
Males can reach over 7 feet (2.40m) in height, and females approximately 5 feet (1.80m).

They live in groups with a dominant male, a dominant female, and other females. The females all lay eggs in a common nest, a hole in the ground, which is incubated by the male. When the chicks hatch, they can move around.

Haut-de-chausses à palettes (femelle)Museum d'histoire naturelle et préhistoire de Nîmes

If we move to the other side of the bird spectrum in terms of diversity of form, color, and behavior, we find the hummingbirds, which are their complete opposites.

A white-booted racket-tail, for example, weighs about 0.14 oz (4 g), which is about the average weight of its fellows.

Due to their tiny legs, they can only land on branches. They spend most of their time flying, searching for food: nectar. Virtuosos of flight, they can forage without landing and some can even fly backwards.

Colibri géantMuseum d'histoire naturelle et préhistoire de Nîmes

Here is their largest species, which weighs about 0.71 ounces (20 gr): the Giant Hummingbird.

Unlike ratites, this group of birds is much less widespread and can only be found in the Americas. The chicks are nidicolous, which means they need to spend some time in the nest after hatching.

Credits: Story

Realization: Ville de Nîmes - Muséum d'histoire naturelle et de préhistoire  
Iconography: © Ville de Nîmes - Muséum d'histoire naturelle et de préhistoire   

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