The wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans) has the largest wingspan of any living bird. The largest known specimen of the species, a male caught and measured by the Antarctic research ship USNS Eltanin in the Tasman Sea in 1965, had a wingspan of 11 ft. 11 in. As a result of its impressive wingspan, the wandering albatross is an expert glider and can remain aloft for long periods without beating its wings. In fact, the wandering albatross has sometimes been known to sleep while it flies. Even the wandering albatross, however, can't compete with the extinct South American teratoron (Argentavis magnificens). The teratoron, which existed 6 to 8 million years ago, had an estimated wingspan of 25 feet!
Many birds have pigment glands that deposit colors on their eggs as they pass through the mother's oviduct. In the case of the American robin, the eggs are an eye-catching blue. Normally, a robin will lay three to five eggs per clutch. It takes about two weeks to incubate the eggs. The mother robin will spend most of her time sitting on the nest, but the male bird may occasionally sit on the eggs to give her a break. After hatching, the young robins will remain in the nest for about fifteen days.
A group of owls is called a parliament. Group names for other birds include a bevy of quail, a brood of hens, a cast of hawks, a company of parrots, a dole of doves, a gaggle of geese, a host of sparrows, a murder of crows, a party of jays, a rafter of turkeys, and a watch of nightingales.
The magnificent frigate bird inflates a bright red balloon on his neck when he is ready to attract a mate. When the balloon is fully inflated, half the size of the bird's body, he flaps his wings and rattles his bill.
The yellow-bellied sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) is a medium-sized woodpecker that lives on a diet of tree sap, insects, and berries. The sapsucker can be found in Canada and the Eastern United States. During the winter, it migrates to Central America and the West Indies.