Bird Identification | Sri Lanka

peacock - sri lanka

Things to Know When You Want to Identify a Bird

What are things to use for bird identification?

When talking about bird identification, first you have to understand what a bird is. A bird is a warm-blooded, two-legged, feathered creature that lays eggs. Most birds can fly with the assistance of their wings. Scientists estimate that there are about 9000 distinct bird species on the globe. Birds may be found practically anywhere, including forests, marshes, towns, deserts, and grasslands. Birds come in many different colors, but they always have two legs, two wings, a beak, and feathers.

Learning about a bird’s topography, such as feathers and body parts, will allow you to not only write a decent description when you see a bird, but also comprehend someone else’s written descriptions of a bird that others see.

The Topography of a Head

bird identification
Forehead-  The area between the base of the bill and a line traced to the anterior angle of each eye. The ventral edge is the line that connects the nostril to the nasal canthus.
Crown- The area just behind the brow The crown of the head spans from the brow to the first cervical vertebrae of the neck. In crested birds, crown feathers are extended.
Ear Patch-This term refers to the feathers that surround the ear. Cheecks is another name for this location.
Nape-The neck’s dorsal surface.
Gorget- Some bird species, notably hummingbirds, have a patch of colourful or iridescent feathers on their neck or upper breast.
Throat-The region beneath the mandible.
Chin-A very small region at the base of the lower jaw that may frequently be used to identify particular birds.
bird identification
Nostril-similar to a canal in a bird’s nose.
Culmen-  The center midline ridge that runs from the tip of the upper bill to the bill’s base.
Nail- The upper mandibular tip The size and color of a duck’s nails might be an essential identifying trait.
Iris- The colored portion of the eye that surrounds the pupil, which is always black, The color of the iris in certain birds changes with age.
Pupil-The pupil is a hole in the middle of the iris that permits light to enter the eye and strike the retina.
Gape- The angle formed between the maxilla and the mandile.
Neck Side- The head is the bodily portion that connects the head to the rest of the body.

Other Body Components

Bird Body Components
Mantle-Other body components: area beneath the nape. A one-of-a-kind feather collection covering the upper back and bordered by scapular feathers.
Scapulars-Feathers that cover the wing’s base. Scapulars border the mantle and cover the wing bend in general. 
Tail-A tangle of long feathers with muscles at their tips.
Undertail Coverts-Feathers that overlap the tail’s bottom base.
Belly-The region is bounded by the breast, sides, and vent.
Tarsus-The portion of a leg that seems to be between a backward-facing knee and an ankle.
Toes-Some of the foot’s lower bones.
Thigh-The proximal vertebrate hind, or lower limb portion, reaches from the hip to the knee.
Breast-Between the neck and the belly, the upright section of the body.

Wings and Feathers 

Wings and Feathers
Leading Edge- The back edge of a bird.
Tailtip- Any of a bird’s big tail feathers that aid in flight control.
Wingtip-The outer margin or edge of a bird’s wing.
Wings and Feathers
Secondaries-Long flight feathers sprout from the wing’s forearm. The outside secondaries are next to the primaries. The secondaries of certain ducks can be brilliantly colored and conform to the speculum.
Primaries-Long flying feathers sprout from a wing’s hand. Primaries make up the underside of a folded wing. Although most birds have 10 primaries, certain sub-oscine passerines only have nine.
Axillaries-The outer margin or edge of a bird’s wing Feathers are found in the armpit of the bird. These feathers are the underwing equivalent of tertial feathers.
Coverts- Cover the primaries and secondary bases.

Shapes and varieties of feathers

The tail feathers, known as rectrices are found in an even number of birds. The middle pair of rectrices will be on top of the folded tail, while the outer pair will be at the bottom.

The three most common tail morphologies are square, forked, and rounded. These three categories give rise to other tailed forms.

Bird Trails
Forked-The outer pair of tail feathers is longer than the middle pair. The length of the feathers increases from the center pair to the outside pair.
Rounded- The outer pair of tail feathers is shorter than the middle pair. The length of the feathers increases from the outer pair to the center pair.
Square-Tail feathers that are all the same length.

Beaks or Bills?

Birds use their bills or beaks to devour their food. They come in a variety of forms, and you can determine what sort of food a bird consumes by glancing at its beak. Beaks are extremely hard and come in a variety of forms, as seen in figure 4. The form of a bird’s beak changes depending on what it consumes. Some are meant to harvest seeds, others to rip flesh, still others to sip nectar, and still more to catch insects. A bird’s diet may be easily determined by the form of its beak.

Beaks or Bills
Canaries have short, stiff beaks that are used for husking seeds.
Herons have long, thin, pointed beaks that they use to grasp or spear aquatic creatures.
Herons have long, thin, pointed beaks that they use to grasp or spear aquatic creatures.
Ducks have flat and wide beaks that they use to sift fine food from muck.
Ducks have flat and wide beaks that they use to sift fine food from muck.
Eagles use their hooked beaks to shred flesh.
Eagles use their hooked beaks to shred flesh.
Flycatchers have short, sharply pointed beak for catching insects.
 Flycatchers have short, sharply pointed beak for
 catching insects.
Hummingbirds collect nectar from flowers with their long, curved beaks.
Hummingbirds collect nectar from flowers with their long, curved beaks.

Feet, Eyes and Ears

bird feet
Feet- Birds have feet that are tailored to their lifestyle. Birds living near streams have more distinct feet than those living in forests. Birds that dwell in trees require feet that allow them to grip tree limbs. Ducks, for example, have webbed feet that act like paddles and help them swim. Chickens have powerful toes and nails that allow them to scrape the ground in search of grains and worms to eat. Birds typically have four toes, one huge toe pointing backwards and three looking forwards.
Eyes-Every bird has two eyes, one on each side of their head. Only the owl has both eyes in the center of its face. Birds have three clear eyelids: one upper, one lower, and one membrane, which serve to clean and shield the eyes from wind and dust. Birds have better vision than humans and can see over long distances, which allows eagles to hunt fish while flying at tremendous heights.
Ears- You’ve probably heard birds sing and chirp; sound is a technique for birds to communicate with their flock. Except for the owl, which has huge, noticeable ears, birds’ ears are inconspicuous and largely concealed by feathers. Birds’ ears, which are formed like holes, are located on the sides of their heads, beneath their eyes, and can be as huge as their eyes.


List of terms used in bird topography – Wikipedia

Read more:

Sri Lanka’s Top 31 Endemic Birds – Wild Lanka

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