Indian Runner Ducks Stand Upright Like Penguins, Can Outrun Most Humans

The Indian Runner duck has the most distinctive body type among all the world’s duck breeds. With legs positioned further back on the body than all other duck breeds, they stand upright like penguins and run rather than waddle.

Native to the Asian continent, the Indian Runner duck is a development of the wild mallard. However, its unique evolution is believed to have been determined more by human interference than natural evolution. First encountered by European sailors during the 1800s in Indonesia, where it wasn’t uncommon for farmers to have heards of over 1,000 ducks. It stood out because of its unusual body posture and running ability, which were unusual for European duck breeds. Today, the Indian Runner is found on all the world’s continents, although it is still considered somewhat of an oddity outside of Asia.

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Qatar’s Falcon Hospital – A Medical Facility Literally for the Birds

Souq Waqif is a state-of-the-art hospital in Doha Qatar, where 150 patients are treated every day. Only patients here all have feathers, as Souq Waqif is a hospital for falcons.

To say that Qatar’s Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital is a medical facility unlike any other would be fairly accurate. But then again, few countries around the world have a falconry tradition as old as the small Arab nations. Keeping the birds in the best possible physical shape is considered an essential duty by those who choose to keep and train falconids, and many of them spare no expense doing it. So it’s really no wonder that Souq Waqif is better equipped and staffed than many human hospitals in some of the world’s most developed countries.

Founded in 2008, the Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital is located in one corner of the main square in Doha’s old city. Everything, from the shiny glass doors at the entrance to the comfortable sofas of the waiting room, lets you know that falcons are the most revered animals in Qatar.

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The Thriving Parakeets Taking Over London

Ring-necked parakeets are native to the foothills of the Himalayas and temperate regions of North Africa, but for the past century and a half, they’ve also made a home for themselves in London.

No one knows exactly when and how London became a home for feral parakeets. In fact, there are so many urban myths tied to these green exotic birds that it’s hard to settle on just one explanation. Many of the theories going around on the streets of London as well as on the internet involve legendary artists like Jimi Hendrix or Audrey Hepburn, but no one can truly say how the birds came to the English capital. One thing is for sure, though – London’s parakeets are here to stay, they are thriving, and they are expanding, with recent estimates placing their number in the tens of thousands.

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Onagadori – A Japanese Chicken Breed With Majestically Long Tail Feathers

The Onagadori (‘honorable fowl’ in Japanese) is a rare chicken breed known for its exceptionally long tail, which can reach over 10 meters, putting even peacocks to shame.

Of the seventeen chicken breeds considered Japanese national treasures, the Onagadori is the only one to have “special” status. Ever since it received this status in 1952, exports of Onagadori birds and eggs were forbidden, so there are very few specimens, if any, found outside of Japan today. The breed is famous for the non-molting, and thus incredibly long tails of roosters, which, if kept in the best conditions with high levels of animal husbandry, can grow for the lifetime of the bird.

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This Fascinating Bird Looks Like a Feathered Dragon

What do you get if you mix a bird, a squirrel and a lizard? Well, I think you’ll have a tough time finding a better answer than the Great Eared Nightjar.

Seeing a great eared nightjar for the first time, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a squirrel or even a lizard. The fact is it kind of looks like a combination of animals, or even a real-live version of Toothless, the dragon from DreamWorks Studios’ hit animation “How to Train Your Dragon“. You could say it’s living proof that birds are more closely related to dinosaurs than reptiles.

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Shocking Video Shows Flock of Birds Crashing Into Pavement

A viral video showing a flock of hundreds of yellow-headed blackbirds flying straight into the pavement in the Mexican town of Cuauhtémoc has left a lot of people scratching their heads about the cause.

Footage from a security camera shows a large flock of yellow-headed blackbirds descending upon on a house before brutally crashing into the asphalt. Although most of the birds manage to take to the skies after the bizarre crash, many can be seen scattered on the street, barely moving. Subsequent videos showing dozens of bird carcasses confirm that the unusual descent had been fatal for some of the birds.

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Modern Game Bantams – Poultry Fashion Models With a Fighting Spirit

Because of their slender physique, incredibly long legs and upright pose, Modern Game Bantams are considered by many the fashion models of the poultry world, but few know that they also have a mean streak.

Modern Game chickens take their name from the ‘old English game’, a chicken breed brought to the English Isles in the 1st century by the Romans. Bred exclusively for cock fighting, the old English game grew immensely popular over the century because, well, raising a chicken was relatively affordable, and cockfighting was a “sport” anyone could partake in. However, things changed in 1849, when cock fighting was officially banned in England, by order of the Queen. All of a sudden, the old English game was retired, and a new, modern variant took its place.

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Australian Parrots Are Getting Drunk on Fermented Mangoes

Red-winged parrots in Western Australia’s Kimberley region are reportedly “flying under the influence” and acting bizarrely after feasting on fermented mangoes.

We may be putting on another layer of clothes in the northern hemisphere, but Down Under it’s the end of the mango season, and red-winged parrots are reportedly taking full advantage of the last available orange fruits, even if they’re a little overripe. The problem is that mangoes are particularly sugar-rich, and can produce relatively high levels of alcohol as they ferment. Humans are unlikely to consume fruits that have reached a certain fermentation point because they have a mushy texture and a taste that is no longer considered pleasant. But to red-winged parrots, a mango is a mango, even if the ethanol level in it is likely to get them drunk.

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This 70-Year-Old Albatross Is the World’s Oldest Known Wild Bird

The world’s oldest known wild bird is a Laysan albatross named Wisdom that biologists first identified and banded in 1956. She is now at least 70-years-old and just hatched another chick.

First banded in 1956, by biologist Chandler Robbins, who found her nest near a US navy base on the Midway Atoll that the world’s largest colony of albatross calls home, Wisdom has now outlived the man who discovered her, as well as all her male mates. Although cockatoos in captivity have been known to live nearly 100 years, for wild birds the odds of living over seven decades are extremely slim. Predators, food scarcity and, more recently, plastic waste, are all life-threatening factors that wild albatross deal with on a regular basis. And, yet, despite having the odds stacked against her, Wisdom has managed to live longer than any wild bird known to man.

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Wild Sparrow Refuses to Leave the Human Couple That Raised Her

A young couple in Koper, Slovenia are the proud parents of a wild sparrow that refuses to leave their side, even though she always has the freedom to go anywhere she wants.

Alesh and Janja, a young couple from Koper, in Slovenia, adopted their “child”, Chibi, when she was about 10-days-old. A friend of theirs found her while walking her baby. She was lying on the ground next to another dead sparrow, and her parents were nowhere to be found, so the woman took the baby sparrow home. Unfortunately, she had her own baby and couldn’t take care of another, especially one from a species she knew nothing about. That’s where Alesh and Janja came in; they didn’t know anything about sparrow chicks either, but there was plenty of information online, and they were willing to put in the work.

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The Parlor Roller – A Unique Pigeon Breed That Does Backflips Instead of Flying

Although there are plenty of flightless bird species on Earth, the Parlor Roller pigeon is believed to be the only one selectively bred by humans until it lost its capacity to take to the skies and developed a completely new and bizarre means of getting around – backflips.

Seeing a parlor roller pigeon roll on the ground, you would think it was having some sort of seizure, but in reality, the birds are rolling on the ground because it comes naturally to them. No one knows exactly how or when the breed was created, but experts and enthusiasts speculate that its origins can be traced back to mid-19th century Scotland when someone probably encountered a specimen with a slight tendency to roll on the ground and decided it was worth emphasizing via selective breeding. It is believed that over years of selective breeding, pigeons that rolled over long distances were obtained.

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Prized Chicken Breed Has Jet Black Skin and Dark Meat

Kadaknath is an Indian chicken breed popular for the quality of its meat and eggs, but primarily because of the black color of the skin and its dark-colored meat.

Chicken meat is the world’s most consumed form of protein, with over 98.5 million tons consumed every year. But one has to wonder if it would be as popular if the color of the meat was black. Naturally-raised, free-range chicken tends to have a darker color than the intensely-reared broilers most of us consumed, and I’ve noticed that the color alone tends to put people off. But that’s not even the kind of black meat I’m talking about. Kadaknath, a breed of chicken raised in several Indian states, has jet black feathers and skin, and truly dark meat that is allegedly of much higher quality than broilers.

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French Pensioner and Rescued Pigeon Are Inseparable Friends

Xavier Bouget, an 80-year-old pensioner from France’s Brittany region, and Blanchon, a majestic white pigeon, have been best friends for two years, ever since the Frenchman rescued the bird from becoming a cat’s lunch.

Xavier first met his unlikely companion two years ago, while walking to his house in the town of Gommenec’h. He noticed this small, almost featherless pigeon chick fall out of its nest, in a desperate attempt to escape a hungry cat. He didn’t think to help it at first, but when he got home and mentioned it to his wife, Marie-Françoise, she asked him why he didn’t pick it up. So he went back to get the small pigeon chick, which had miraculously managed to escape the purring predator until his return. Xavier came home with the frail bird in his bird, not knowing that it would soon become his best and closest friend.

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Clever Bird Hunts Fish by Turning Itself Into an Umbrella

Black egrets, a species of African herons, have a very unique hunting technique – they use their wings to from an umbrella, which not only reduces glare, but also lures fish into false sense of security.

Called “canopy feeding”, the hunting technique used by black herons has to be one of the sneakiest observed in the wild. The black wading bird walks about slowly through shallow water and then spreads its wings around its body, to create an umbrella of sorts that blocks out the light. Although it’s not perfectly clear why the African heron uses this specific technique, scientists hypothesize that it has several advantages, like reducing glare and attracting the fish into a trap.

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The Sad Story of the Last Free Macaw in Rio de Janeiro

Almost every morning for the past two decades, Juliet the macaw has been visiting the local zoo in Rio de Janeiro to interact with others of her kind through the metal enclosure. She is the only wild macaw in the Brazilian metropolis, and this is her only opportunity to socialize.

Macaws are social birds, so loneliness is a tough burden to bare for Juliet, a beautiful blue-and-yellow macaw who calls Rio home. She is the only wild specimen seen in city since 1818, and no one really knows much about her. Zoo staff named the bird Juliet, but they don’t even know if she is actually female. It’s really hard to tell with macaws, and to establish her true gender they would need to capture the bird, and either examine her gonads or take blood or feather samples. And there’s really no need to put Juliet through all that stress just to satisfy human curiosity.

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