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Understanding Bird Behavior

An Illustrated Guide to What Birds Do and Why

Wenfei Tong

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A vivid, eye-opening view of why birds behave the way they do

Birds are intelligent, sociable creatures that exhibit a wide array of behaviors—from mobbing and mimicking to mating and joint nesting. Why do they behave as they do? Bringing to light the remarkable actions of birds through examples from species around the world, Understanding Bird Behavior presents engaging vignettes about the private lives of birds, all explained in an evolutionary context.

We discover how birds find food, relying on foraging techniques, tools, and thievery. We learn about the courtship rituals through which birds choose, compete for, woo, and win mates; the familial conflicts that crop up among parents, offspring, and siblings; and the stresses and strains of nesting, including territory defense, nepotism, and relationship sabotage. We see how birds respond to threats and danger—through such unique practices as murmurations, specific alarm calls, distraction displays, and antipredator nest design. We also read about how birds change certain behaviors—preening, migration, breeding, and huddling—based on climate. Richly illustrated, this book explores the increasing focus on how individual birds differ in personality and how big data and citizen scientists are helping to add to what we know about them.

Drawing on classic examples and the latest research, Understanding Bird Behavior offers a close-up look at the many ways birds conduct themselves in the wild.

  • Compelling insights into bird behavior
  • Classic examples and the latest research, including work by citizen scientists
  • Fascinating vignettes about the private lives of birds, from finding food and family life, to coping with climate and other threats
  • 150 detailed color illustrations and photographs

Weitere Titel von diesem Autor
Wenfei Tong
Wenfei Tong



hoatzins, bishops, burrow nests, house husbands, parrot communication, alternative mating strategies, eavesdropping, selfish begging, tropical birds, male-male competition, circannual rhythms, habitat specialization, spatial memory, mental time travel, siblicide, red-winged blackbird, anis, inbreeding avoidance, quails, sex differences in migration, egg and chick recognition, black coucals, deception, red collars, speciation, circadian rhythms, fork-tailed drongos, female blue tits, long tails, mobbing, passerines, caching, crested auklet, crossbills, sandgrouse feathers, ant birds, Californian junco, risk-taking behavior, New Caledonian crows, Chatham Island robins, colored leg bands, mating systems, willow ptarmigan, buffalo weaver, temperate birds, oxpeckers, long-tailed tits, chick mimicry, Egyptian vultures, great tits, delayed dispersal, thermoregulation, widowbirds, parasitism, mixed flocks, heritable egg placement, red-backed fairywren, cuckoos, raptors, camouflaged eggs, forced copulation, carrion crows, infanticide, turkey courting coalitions, blackcap migration, brood divisions, passwords, crows, mutual mate choice, fairywrens, economics of feeding, hummingbird battles, polygynous male pied flycatchers, sentinel behavior, kakapo, bowerbird, communal larders, extra-pair copulations, coot chicks, flamingo, winter flocks, new world warblers, leks