Characteristics of Birds & Reptiles

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Characteristics of Birds & Reptiles
Despite different appearances, birds and reptiles share many characteristics. (turtle and duck image by JASON WINTER from

Birds and reptiles share many characteristics. The Hooper Museum explains that they are very structurally similar except for birds' ability to fly and the features that help them fly. Canada's Aquatic Environments website explains that birds evolved from reptiles, which may explain their familiarities.

Ear Bones

Birds and reptiles both have just one middle ear bone, while mammals have three, according to Canada's Aquatic Environments website.


Birds and reptiles have eggs with the same type of membranes. Baby birds and reptiles also both start out with a special tooth designed to help them break out of their egg shells.

Aortic Arch

Northern Illinois University explains that birds and reptiles both have hearts with a right systemic aortic arch, while mammals have left systemic aortic arches.


The structure of bird jaws and reptile jaws are the same. According to Canada's Aquatic Environments website, both have jaws made up of five fused bones. This structure is different from mammals, who have jaws made up of just one bone.


Birds and reptiles both have scales, according to Northern Illinois University. Scales on birds are on their feet and legs, while reptiles have scales all over. Mammals, on the other hand, do not have scales.

Sclerotic Rings

Birds and reptiles have similar skull features when it comes to the structures that support their eyes. According to Northern Illinois University, both birds and reptiles have sclerotic rings, which are rings that go around their eyes and support them.

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