Birds, also known as Aves, are a group of endothermic vertebrates, characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a strong yet lightweight skeleton. Birds live worldwide and range in size from the 5 cm (2 in) bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m (9 ft) ostrich.
This list of birds of Florida includes in Florida, including both native and introduced species documented and accepted by the Florida Ornithological Society Records Committee (FOSRC).
As of December 31, 2018, there were 525 species on recorded in Florida. Of these 525, 159 species and eight identifiable subspecies are classed as accidental; 14 have been introduced to North America; four are extinct; and one has been extirpated.
Information & Facts:
Many birds can run, jump, swim, and dive. Some, like penguins, have lost the ability to fly but retained their wings. Birds are found worldwide and in all habitats. The largest is the nine-foot-tall ostrich. The smallest is the two-inch-long bee hummingbird.
Everything about the anatomy of a bird reflects its ability to fly. The wings, for example, are shaped to create lift. The leading edge is thicker than the back edge, and they are covered in feathers that narrow to a point. Airplane wings are modeled after bird wings.
The bones and muscles of the wing are also highly specialized. The main bone, the humerus, which is similar to the upper arm of a mammal, is hollow instead of solid. It also connects to the bird’s air sac system, which, in turn, connects to its lungs. The powerful flight muscles of the shoulder attach to the keel, a special ridge of bone that runs down the center of the wide sternum, or breastbone. The tail feathers are used for steering.
Digestion & Nesting
Birds have a unique digestive system that allows them to eat when they can—usually on the fly—and digest later. They use their beaks to grab and swallow food.
Even the way a bird reproduces is related to flight. Instead of carrying the extra weight of developing young inside their bodies, they lay eggs and incubate them in a nest.
The skeleton of birds consists of very lightweight bones. They have large air-filled cavities (called pneumatic cavities) which connect with the respiratory system.
The skull bones in adults are fused and do not show cranial sutures. The orbits are large and separated by a bony septum. The spine has cervical, thoracic, lumbar and caudal regions with the number of cervical (neck) vertebrae highly variable and especially flexible, but movement is reduced in the anterior thoracic vertebrae and absent in the later vertebrae.
The last few are fused with the pelvis to form the synsacrum. The ribs are flattened and the sternum is keeled for the attachment of flight muscles except in the flightless bird orders. The forelimbs are modified into wings.