Fallacy: bird bones are hollow

Is it true that bird bones are hollow? This might be a fallacy – a fallacy means that it is not true.

Bird bones are pneumatic. So are dentists’ drills and jackhammers. Vehicle air brakes and tyres are pneumatic. And vacuum pumps are pneumatic.

‘Pneuma’ is a Greek word for ‘wind’ or ‘breath.’ Pneumatic means that it contains, or is operated by, air or gas under pressure. It is compressed air or compressed gas. Air is a gas. Actually, air is a mixture of gases because it is 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen, with the remaining 1% containing traces of water vapour, carbon dioxide, and argon. 

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Which bird has a reputation for being the most dangerous bird in the world?

Which bird has a reputation for being the most dangerous bird in the world?

The Cassowary has a reputation for being the most dangerous bird in the world.

The Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) is a large flightless bird in the Casuariidae family. It is native to north-eastern Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Velvet Ground Beetle

The Velvet Ground Beetle (Graphipterus sp.; possibly Graphipterus ancora or Graphipterus cordiger) is a common insect in the Carabidae family of beetles. It is a carabid.

The Velvet Ground Beetle has velvety brown elytra (wing casings). It has a light-brown body with dark-brown markings. It has long, segmented antennae. It has a head, thorax, and abdomen. It is flightless, even though it has wings. It runs along the ground.

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Red-Necked Ostrich

The Red-Necked Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus) is a large flightless bird in the Struthionidae family of ratites. It is also known as the North African Ostrich or the Barbary Ostrich. It is a sub-species of the Common Ostrich. It is related to the emu, rhea, cassowary, and kiwi. 

The male Red-Necked Ostrich is black with white tail feathers, a featherless red neck, and red thighs. The female and young male have grey feathers. It has the largest eyes of any land vertebrate. Its legs have no feathers. The Red-Necked Ostrich has two toes on each foot, whereas most birds have four toes and emus have three toes.  

It cannot fly because its feathers lack the tiny hooks that lock together to make external feathers smooth for flying. Its long legs and large wings makes it able to zigzag when it runs. 

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What are the differences between the Greater Rhea and the Lesser Rhea?

What are the differences between the Greater Rhea (Rhea americana) and the Lesser Rhea (Rhea pennata)?

The Greater Rhea and the Lesser Rhea are both large, flightless, ratite birds with long legs and a long neck, with a body of fluffy grey feathers.

The Greater Rhea is larger than the Lesser Rhea. 

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Lesser Rhea

The Lesser Rhea (Rhea pennata) is a large flightless bird. It is also known as Darwin’s Rhea. It cannot fly. Birds that cannot fly are called ratites. The ostrich, kiwi, and cassowary are also ratites.

The Lesser Rhea is emu-like with a body of large fluffy grey or brown spotted feathers, a long neck, and long legs. It has three toes like the emu (the ostrich has two toes). Its toes have sharp claws. Its head, neck, rump, and thighs are feathered. It has a small head and a small beak. 

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Big bird feathers: Emu, Cassowary, Ostrich, and Rhea

What are the similarities and differences between big bird feathers – the feathers of the largest birds on earth?

The Emu, the Cassowary, the Ostrich, and the Rhea are large flightless ratite birds. The Emu is from Australia, the Cassowary is from northern Australia and New Guinea, the Ostrich is from countries in Africa, and the Rhea is from countries in South America.

Their wings have no keel (anchor) on their sternum (a long flat breastbone) to connect to their wing muscles, which means that the birds can’t fly. Therefore, their feathers are mainly decorative. 

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Southern Cassowary

The Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) is a large flightless bird in the Casuariidae family. It is also called the Double-Wattled Cassowary or the Australian Cassowary. It is a ratite, related to the emu, ostrich, kiwi, and the rhea. There is also a Northern Cassowary (Casuarius unappendiculatus).

The Southern Cassowary has stiff, bristly black feathers, a blue face and neck, red on the cape and two red wattles hanging down around its throat. It has a horn-like brown casque on the top of its head. Its feet have three toes with one long claw on each foot.

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Cave Cricket

The Cave Cricket (Phaeophilacris bredoides) is an insect that looks like a spider, but it is related to the grasshopper.

The Cave Cricket has three segments: head, thorax, and abdomen. It is yellowish-grey to brown with a long body, long antennae and long hind legs (back legs). Its legs are covered with small, dark spots. It needs long antennae to feel surfaces and its prey in the dark. It has three pairs of legs (6 legs) with one pair of antennae, and a pair of false legs near its tail to act as stabilizers.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Emu

The Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is a large flightless Australian bird. It is a ratite. Ratites include the ostrich, kiwi, and cassowary.

The Emu has a large soft, shaggy, grey-brown-feathered body, a long almost featherless pale-blue neck, and long featherless legs with three-toed feet that have sharp claws and thick, cushioned pads. Its brown feathers have black tips. It has a soft short grey beak and grey legs.  It has orange-brown eyes.

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Somali Ostrich

The Somali Ostrich (Struthio molybdophanes) is a large bird in the Struthionidae family of ratites. It is also called the Blue-Necked Ostrich. It is a ratite, related to emus, rheas, cassowaries, kiwi, and the Masai Ostrich.

The male Somali Ostrich is a flightless black bird with white tail feathers, a featherless blue-grey neck and featherless grey thighs. The skin of the female’s neck and thighs is grey. The male’s neck and thighs become brighter in mating season. The female and young males have brown feathers. It has the largest eyes of any land vertebrate. The Somali Ostrich has two toes on each foot, whereas most birds have four toes and emus have three toes.

It cannot fly because its feathers lack the tiny hooks that lock together to make external feathers smooth for flying. Its long legs and large wings enable it to zigzag when it runs.

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Masai Ostrich

The Masai Ostrich (Struthio camelus massaicus) is also called the Pink-Necked Ostrich or the East African Ostrich. It is a ratite, related to emus, rheas, cassowaries, and kiwi.

The Masai Ostrich is the largest bird in the world, growing to 2-3 metres (7-9 feet) tall. Their wingspan is about 2 metres (6.5 feet).

It is a large, flightless black bird with white tail feathers, a featherless pink neck and pink thighs. The skin of the female’s neck and thighs is pinkish grey. The male’s neck and thighs are pink, and become brighter in mating season. Females and young males are greyish-brown and white.

They have the largest eyes of any land vertebrate. Their legs have no feathers. The Masai Ostrich has two toes on each foot, whereas most birds have four toes and emus have three toes.

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Ostrich Wing: why the ostrich can’t fly

The Ostrich (Struthio camelus) is a large African flightless bird.

Its wings are also large, with a wingspan of about two metres (6 feet and 7 inches).

Ostriches have many differences from flying birds.

Flying birds have external feathers with hooks that lock together. The Ostrich external feathers do not have tiny hooks that lock together. These hooklets are called barbules. They zip the vanes of individual feathers together to make the feather strong enough to hold the airfoil (the shape of the wing that makes it aerodynamic). Similar foils in water are called hydrofoils.

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