The Ultimate Bird Quiz

Dyann Joyce

Due to a genetic link, what color egg will chickens with red ear lobes produce?

You can predict the color of eggs by a chicken’s earlobes. Red equals brown eggs, and white earlobes mean white eggs. Some breeds of chickens lay brightly colored eggs. The Amereraucana and Araucana breeds lay green and blue eggs. Up to 9 egg yolks have been found in a single chicken egg!

Which endangered bird lays the largest eggs relative to its body size of any in the world?

Kiwis are flightless birds, native to New Zealand. Their large mature eggs equal up to 25% of the females body weight. That’s huge, compared to an ostrich’s eggs only coming in at 2%. These large eggs take up to 80 days to hatch and a single egg is tended by both the male and female.

What bird is the closest living relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex?

The humble chicken takes that title! Although it can't produce the terrible roar of the T-rex, the chicken can communicate with up to 30 sounds and is the most common bird on earth.

Which flightless bird hunts by its highly developed sense of smell?

A kiwi’s diet consists mostly of earthworms, beetle and cicada larvae, spiders and small invertebrates. The kiwi is believed to be the world's most ancient bird.

Which bird spends years at a stretch without touching land?

The sooty tern spends most of its time away from land - up to 10 years at a stretch. It lands in water occasionally to rest, but only returns to land to breed.

Which species is the only poisonous bird in the world?

At least three varieties of the pitohui have a chemical defense in their skin and feathers that contains powerful and deadly neurotoxic alkaloids. They rival the strength of neurotoxins that are secreted by the poison dart frogs of Columbia.

Which is the only bird that can fly sideways and backwards?

A hummingbird’s wings beat as fast as 80 times per second, the fastest of any in the world. Its wing joints rotate, as well. These features allow him to hover in place and fly backwards, upside-down and sideways.

Which birds have the nickname “Jesus Birds,” as they appear to walk on water?

The Northern Jacana has extremely long toes, giving it the ability to walk and travel over shallow bodies of water on floating vegetation, to eat insects and invertebrates in their natural habitat.

Which birds became a nuisance in the U.K., puncturing the foil on milk containers and sipping milk?

Although blue tits are small, they are highly intelligent - they can adapt easily and solve complex problems. In some U.K. towns, they followed the milk trucks and punctured the foil lids, sipping small drinks of milk. The amount wasn’t much, but due to contamination the milk was unusable. With modern milk distribution, this problem has pretty much evaporated.

Which bird will dye its own feathers with natural substances to attract a mate?

Like a human using hair products to style and color their hair, the lammergeyer will use mud and mineralized clay to color, thicken and stain its beige and white feathers, to add bright highlights to its plumage.

Which bird will make patios on its nest, that can include up to 300 stones?

The canyon wren is native to Western North America, with its dry and arid slopes. The female uses the natural environment of rocks, pebbles and crevices to engineer pathways and a patio in front of its nest.

What bird fishes with lures, using insect, berries or pieces of brush to attract fish?

After dropping items on the water’s surface to attract a fish, the green heron waits patiently in a crouch, hidden by leaves. When a fish comes to investigate, the green heron grabs it with a quick thrust of its daggerlike bill.

Which of these is most likely the heaviest living flying bird?

Not to be confused with the similar sounding buzzard, the great bustard is named for his slow, thoughtful walking, as his name is Latin for “slow” and “deliberate.” Great bustards are also one of the most sexually dimorphic bird species - meaning males are a great deal larger than females.

What is the name of the undigested mass that is coughed up after a meal by birds of prey, like owls?

A pellet is formed within 6-10 hours of eating. Depending on the bird’s diet and habitat, a pellet can consist of indigestible plant matter, bills, claws, fur, bones, insect exoskeletons, teeth and feathers. In birds of prey it is a health benefit, as it scours the digestive tract.

Who studied the finches of the Galapagos while polishing his theory of natural selection?

Charles Darwin discovered the finches of different islands adapted in their sizes and beaks to hunt successfully in different habitats, although they all descended from a common ancestor. With help from an ornithologist, Darwin later learned that the birds weren't finches after all, but probably types of blackbirds or mockingbirds.

What bird can move its head in almost a complete circle (360 degrees), but cannot move its eyes?

From the order Strigiformes, owls are solitary, nocturnal birds. They hunt small animals, insects and other birds by swiveling their head with binocular vision and binaural hearing (sound localization).

Which is the only bird in the world that can walk upright?

The penguin is also the only bird that can swim, but not fly. The fastest swimmer of the penguin species is the gentoo penguin, which can clock in diving and swimming speeds at about 22 miles per hour.

What bird is known to drop tortoises from tall heights to crack them open for a meal?

A vulture can soar for many hours without one beat of its wings. The term for a group of vultures in flight is a “kettle,” compared to being called a “committee” of vultures if they are at roost in trees.

Which bird can run at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour?

The roadrunner has an unusual foot for a bird, known as a zygodactyl foot. It has two toes pointed forward and two pointed backward. The roadrunner uses its tail as a rudder.

What bird species hunts by means of a chemical attack?

The bassian thrush actually directs flatulence toward a worm find to disturb the worm and provoke movement. This helps the bird locate the worm easier.

What corn-eating pest has the ability to speak and even use tools?

Crows have the largest brains, relative to body size, of any avian family. They can be trained to speak and they have been known to use tools.

What is the fastest flying bird in the world?

The peregrine falcon has been clocked at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour when diving for prey. They eat mostly birds, but occasionally consume small mammals or carrion.

What bird has been known to be in an alliance with alligators?

The alligator and the heron have a complicated relationship. The alligator scares off predators that would sneak into the nest and eat the heron’s eggs. In return, the heron usually ejects one or two chicks from the nest, to balance the heron colony population with the season's food availability - and those chicks are consumed by the alligator.

What bird has been known to hibernate for months at a time?

Due to environmental stress, a lack of food and nutrition, or other harsh living conditions, the common poorwills will hibernate in rocky crevices until conditions improve - most likely in spring, with warmer temperatures.

What species of flying parrot is the largest?

At about 40 inches in length and about 3.5 pounds, the endangered bright blue South American Hyacinth macaw is the largest of all flying parrots. They often flock to mounds of clay, known as macaw licks.

Which common bird is the record holder for biggest spoken vocabulary, at over 1,700 words?

According to the Gulnness Book of World Records, Puck the budgie demonstrated a vocabulary of 1,728 words, back in 1995. Officially known as a budgerigar, the budgie or parakeet is a common household pet. The brightly colored little budgie is native to the harsh landscape of Australia, where it has lived for over 5 million years.

How many species of birds are there?

Under a controversial new classification system, redefining species, the number of bird species numbers around 18,000. That's nearly double the previously estimated number. Classification gets fuzzy when subgroups breed.

What was the first bird to be domesticated by humans?

The goose is the first bird to be recorded as domesticated by humans, probably in Egypt. The first geese shared a lot in common with swans.

What songbird is kept as a pet in China and taught to mimic other birds and animals?

The Chinese teach their domesticated larks 13 distinct sounds in a strict order. Larks that can learn all 13 sounds in order - the 13 songs of a lark - are the most valuable.

What do you call a group of ravens?

A group of ravens is an unkindness, while a group of crows is a murder. Ravens and crows look similar, but ravens have wedge-shaped tails and crows' tails are fan-shaped.

For how long are baby bald eagles fed directly by their parents?

Young bald eagles are fed directly by their parents for the first 3 to 6 weeks, then they feed on food dropped into the nest. The babies start to fly at 10 to 12 weeks of age.

What is the largest bird on the planet?

The ostrich is considered to be the world's largest bird. Its eggs are also the largest. The ostrich can run up to 43 miles per hour, using its wings as rudders when necessary.

Which living bird has the longest beak?

Although it's a medium-sized pelican, the Australian pelican has a beak up to just under 19 inches long. This pelican lives predominantly on fish, along with some turtles, shrimp and other delicacies.

What bird of the Galapagos Islands drinks the blood of other birds?

Famous for its highly unusual diet, the endangered vampire finch most likely developed the habit of pecking at other birds at the base of the tail, to draw blood, by preening their plumage of insects and parasites.

Which bird is considered to be the first sign of spring?

As they hunt by daylight hours, robins are seen as the temperature breaks and the days start to grow longer. They lay their eggs early in the season, so to see them out and active is considered a sign of spring.

Explore More Quizzes

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Can you tell an osprey from an owlet? With the new protocols in avian diversity, there are now a reported 18,000 different species of birds. Take this quiz and find out!

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!