How Do Birds Adapt to Their Environment?

Birds have developed a variety of biological and behavioral adaptations in order to thrive in their natural habitat. Each species of bird have different wings, feet and beaks depending on their environment and feeding habits. Some develop acute senses, such as improved olfactory and auditory tracking.

Marine birds, such as cormorants and pelicans, live on and feed in the sea. They have distensible pouches and long flattened bills they use to engulf fish. Pelicans use their long bills to plunge and scoop up fish under the water, while cormorants pursue their prey under the water and hook them on their beaks. Penguins, another sea bird, cannot fly, but their streamlined bodies allow them to swim, dive and pursue their food deep in the ocean.

Resident desert birds have greatly adapted to living in the arid climate. Roadrunners have long strong feet that they used to run and to catch prey quickly. The bird’s physiology adjusts to the dry environment by entering a state of hypothermia at night, which allows the roadrunner to conserve energy and lose heat. In the morning, it ruffles its feathers and exposes its dark skin towards the sun to absorb heat.

The Turkey vulture can spend days without eating and burns little energy throughout the day by gliding in the air without flapping its wings. Compared with other birds, vultures have prominent sense of smell, which they use to locate food miles away.