Did you know…

Altitude records

Most birds fly in the lower layers of the atmosphere – between 400 and 1 000 metres (1 300 – 3 300 ft.) However, there are instances of birds flying at substantially greater altitudes: the Andean Condor has been registered at 7 000 m (23 000 ft.), and a flock of Bar-headed Geese were observed above Mount Everest, i. e. at nearly 10 000 m (33 000 ft.) above sea level. In fact they followed the rule – they were flying at not more than 1 000 metres above the ground… but the ‘ground’ in this case happened to be the world’s highest peak!

Awkward habits

The Great Hornbill has an intriguing behaviour during its breeding season. After the female lays her eggs, the male seals her in the hollow leaving an opening wide enough for her to stick out only her beak. The female depends entirely on him for food. He releases her only when the young are ready to leave the nest. If the male dies, the destiny of the female and her young depends on the good will of another, single male which can ‘adopt’ them (which happens almost always). This awkward behaviour is actually a survival strategy in an environment where a huge diversity of snakes are ready to go to great lengths for a nice chicken dinner.

Nests are… tasty?!

Soup made from nests of the Mossy-nest Swiftlet is considered a delicacy on the islands of Java and Borneo. It takes the birds no less than 40 days to build the nests from their own… saliva. Which obviously is quite tasty as the delicacy costs a serious amount of money.