Birds

SECTION 1 Origin and Evolution of Birds SECTION 2 Characteristics of Birds SECTION 3 Classification

Young birds, such as this owl, depend on their parents for food and protection.

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For project ideas from Scientific American, visit go.hrw.com and type in the keyword HM6SAK.

Origin and Evolution of Birds

Birds belong to the class Aves, which, with nearly 10,000 species, is the largest class of terrestrial vertebrates. Birds are also the most recently evolved group of vertebrates, having appeared only about 150 million years ago. Among living vertebrates, only birds and bats can fly. The bodies of most birds are well adapted to flight.

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