Bird names are some of the most recognisable animal names in the world. Bird names have been chosen as mascots for professional sports teams from the Baltimore Orioles to the Baltimore Ravens. Other bird names are far less recognisable and exotic such as the curlew and the rhea.
Birds of Prey
Birds of prey tend to have names that bring to mind images of strength and hunting skill. The raptors that have hooked beaks and curved talons are the most deadly birds. The names of these birds include the symbol of America, the bald eagle. Other names that fall under raptors include falcons, condors, hawks and ospreys. A less well known bird in this category is the secretary bird. Vultures and buzzards are also considered birds of prey.
Game birds are those that are hunted for food. The more well-known game bird names include pheasant, turkey, quail and grouse. Names that fall under the game bird category that may be less well known to those who don't hunt include the skulking rail, bustard, guinea fowl and partridge.
Seabirds are those birds that feed along the coast or drive into the waters for the food. Many seabirds have names that are among the most well known of bird names like pelicans and seagulls. The albatross, considered a lucky bird by sailors, is a bird name that has come to symbolise carrying a heavy burden, thanks to Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," in which a sailor who killed an albatross was forced to wear it around his neck as a penance. More exotic and less recognisable seabird names include the skua, frigatebird, skimmer and petrel.
When people think of flightless birds, the name that most likely comes to mind first is the penguin. In fact, there are many birds incapable of flight. Among the other well-known flightless bird names are ostrich, kiwi and emu. The kakapo parrot of New Zealand is one of the rarest flightless birds, and evolution has contributed to its state because it has no natural predators. Other flightless birds include two species of rhea, three types of cassowary and 49 species of a Central and South American bird known as the tinamous.
Freshwater and Lake Birds
Freshwater and lake birds are among the most identifiable of all bird species. Almost everyone can identify a duck or goose, and those who live in the areas where these birds live are usually quite familiar with herons, cranes and storks. Other birds that belong to this group include flamingos, swans, ibises and spoonbills.
Small Perching Birds
Small perching birds have some of the most unusual names in the bird population. The wallcreeper gets its name from looking for food in cliff walls. Treecreepers feast up and down trees and nest in small holes. More well-known perching birds include larks, swallows and wrens. This group is also home to the bird name guaranteed to elicit the most discomfort in mixed company: the titmouse.