About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Is there a bird without feathers?

No, the biggest difference between birds and other animals is that birds have feathers. Every bird has feathers and every animal that has feathers is a bird. A Whistling Swan, in winter has the most with about 20,000 individual feathers. And the what bird has the fewest feathers? That distinction goes to the Ruby-throated Hummingbird with about 940.

4 comments:

Ruth said...

what about the platipus?

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Yeah, what is with the egg laying duck billed platypus?

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platypus, when the Platypus was first discovered by Europeans in 1798, a pelt and sketch were sent back to Great Britain and British scientists were convinced that it must have been a hoax.

But it isn't a bird. The Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a semi-aquatic mammal from eastern Australia. It is one of five existing species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young.

Like other mammals, monotremes are warm-blooded, but lay eggs. However, the egg is retained for some time within the mother, who actively provides the egg with nutrients. Monotremes also lactate, but have no defined nipples, excreting the milk from their mammary glands via openings in their skin.

All are long-lived, with low rates of reproduction and relatively prolonged parental care of infants.

Very good question!

pjwould said...

What are the other four existing species of monotremes?

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

According to Wikipedia http://bit.ly/6M2zpW the five monotremes are:
1.Platypus
2.Short-beaked Echidna
3.Sir David's Long-beaked Echidna
4.Eastern Long-beaked Echidna,
5.Western Long-beaked Echidna

Echidnas, sometimes also referred to as "spiny anteaters", are the only surviving monotremes apart from the Platypus. The four surviving species, native to New Guinea and Australia, all belong to the Tachyglossidae family. They are named echidna after the "Mother of All Monsters" in ancient Greek mythology.