10 Birds You'll Love More Than Flappy Bird

Posted: February 14, 2014 - 09:07 , by Amanda Girgis
Biodiversity, Ornithology, Technology | Comments () | Comment

Is your high score below 10? Are you constantly crashing into those nauseating green pipes? Behold Flappy Bird, a frustratingly repetitive and highly addicting flash game about a bird who depends on you to navigate through Super Mario-esque pipes. The instructions are undefined, but the game is pretty simple; Users tap their screens to control the height at which Flappy flies, or more like crashes. Flappy has become the internet's most hated bird – try scoring higher than a 3 and you’ll know why. You will quickly become the cause of Flappy’s frequent demise and curse the day you ever downloaded this maddening app. Flappy Bird took every App Store by storm and sat comfortably at the #1 spot for weeks on end before creator, Dong Nguyen completely removed the game from being further being downloaded. Whether you love, hate, or miss little ol’ flappy – we’ve got a few birds in our collection that we know you’ll like better!

1. Cardinal

[Left] Desert Cardinal, found in Southwestern USA and Northern Mexico
[Right] Northern Cardinal, found in Ontario.

Cardinals are the social butterflies of the bird world – they hang out in flocks and have no hesitation when it comes to with mingling with other species. They can also sing -- unlike many songbirds, both male and female cardinals sing, and they have about two dozen songs.

2. Seven Coloured Tanger

This stunningly beautiful species can be found only in the best preserved Atlantic Forest fragments of North Eastern Brazil.  The Seven Coloured Tanger has been classified by Birdlife International as Endangered – its small range, loss of habitant, and its popularity in the illegal caged bird trade has put the species in decline.

3. Cock-of-the-rock

[Left]Andean Cock-of-the-rock
[Right] Guianan Cock-of-the-rock

Unrelated to the chicken, the male cock-of-the-rock bird earned the name "cock" because of its rooster-like appearance and hostile behaviour. The female of the species influenced the word "rock" being added to the name because of her habit of nesting and rearing in sheltered rock niches

Cocks-of-the-Rock have intricate mating rituals. The males gather in a clearing taking up positions they held during previous mating seasons and have competitive courtship displays. They spar individually with their neighbours -- which often includes putting on extravagant mating dance, plumage displays and vocal challenges with each other to woo a female. Check out the bizarre sound of these birds:

The Animal Files

4. Umbrellabird

The Umbrellabird is a large, tropical species of bird that is found inhabiting the rainforests of Central and South America.  The Umbrellabird gets its name from the striking features of the male – they have large crests, composed of hair-like feathers, extending over the bill, and a long, black feathered wattle hanging from the middle of the chest. When expanded, the wattle is said to look like a pine cone! The Umbrellabird plays a vital role in their native eco-system as they distribute the seeds from the fruits that they eat across the forest.


5. Lyrebird

This Australian bird gets its name from the male species -- When the tail is raised over his head, it looks like an ancient musical stringed instrument called a lyre. The male typically carries his tail low, but when he is trying to catch the attention of a female during mating season, he spreads his tail and raises it over his head. They key to a female Lyrebird’s heart is mounds of earth-– the male builds several mounds, in which he uses as a part of his performance to catch the attention of the lyrebird of his dreams. He dances and sings on the mounds-– his songs are a complication of sounds he has heard in the forest, or elsewhere such as chainsaws, cars and cameras. The lyrebird is exceptional at imitation, check out this Lyrebird imitating construction work at the Adelaide Zoo:

Kid Cyber

6. Hoope

The Hoopoe is named after their onomatopoeic sound, “oop-oop-oop.” This bird can be found in many areas across Africa, Asia and Europe. On their spare time they are likely to be bathing in the sun. A hoopoe sunbathes by tipping its head back so its crest touches its back and it spreads its wings in what is said to look like a yoga pose.

Besides being a avid sun bather, Both the Qur’an and Jewish folklore associate the Hoopoe with King Solomon, the wisest of all kings – from protecting the king from the sun to introducing him to the Queen of Sheba, the Hoopoe is a highly cherished bird.

The Toast

7. Kakapo (Owl Parrot)

The ancient Kakapo is the world's rarest and strangest parrot! Found in New Zealand, it is the only flightless and nocturnal parrot, as well as being the heaviest in the world, weighing up 8 lbs. It is not closely related to other parrots and, in fact has a combination of biological features not shared by any other species. The Kakapo does not reach sexual maturity until 10 years of age, and it only breeds every 2 to 5 years.

Kakapo Parrot

8. Magnificent Quetzal

The Quetzal is a medium sized bird that is found in the moist, tropical rainforests of Central America from southern Mexico right down into Panama. The Quetzal is often associated with its metallic plumage and is widely considered to be one of the most strikingly-beautiful birds in the world. The male Quetzal is renowned for its long tail feathers, which can be as long as 65 cm.  

The Quetzal was highly valued as personal adornments by the Aztec and Maya nobility. Mayan kings were said to prize the green tail feathers of the quetzal more than gold itself.

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9. Passenger Pigeon

Passenger Pigeons had the most captivating demise of all other extinct species. The passenger pigeon went from a population of billions to a population of exactly zero in less than a hundred years. Their abundance was said to darken the skies for days on end as they migrated.

The last known passenger pigeon was Martha, who passed away at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914, the same year of the ROM’s opening. In light of the centennial year of both the ROM and the pigeon’s demise, the museum is putting it’s collection out on display for the first time in 34 years. The ROM is also playing a large role in the bird’s resurrection; you can read more about it here

10. Northern Goshawk

The name "goshawk" comes from the Old English words gos, meaning goose, and hafoc meaning hawk. It is pronounced as if the words are still separate, without any "sh" sound. Northern Goshawks belong to the family Accipitridae, a group of species that includes hawks, eagles, vultures, harriers, and kites. They are also the largest and least sexually dimorphic accipiter’s in North America. These ferocious birds live in mature woodlands, where they use their rapid turn of speed and excellent manoeuvrability to hunt. The Goshawk enjoys eating rabbit, grouse, and chipmunks – no small mammal or bird is safe from these vicious predators.

Watch the Goshawk in action: