For many, many years human beings have found great fascination with the birds that live around them. The drawings that have been found in the caves and in the different archaeological sites indicate the interest that humans have had in birds. Evidence that early humans consumed avian protein dates back to Stone Age times . In more modern times, birds continue to be not only a food source but also a fascinating field of scientific study . The new technology opens the doors to us to be able to group and trackbirds over thousands of miles, observing their behaviors , the way they nest and allowing us to monitor environmental concerns that arise regarding them and their habitats.


What is ornithology?

The ornithology is the branch of biology that is responsible for studying the birds , their structure and classification , habitats , types of singing , flying and nesting , including those species that did not survive the different environmental changes over time.


Definition of ornithology

Ornithology is a branch of zoology that is responsible for studying birds . This is one of the few scientific fields in which non-professionals can make significant contributions . Much research is conducted in universities and museums , which house and maintain collections of bird skins, skeletons, and preserved specimens on which most taxonomists and anatomists depend. The field research , on the other hand, is carried out by both professionals and amateurs , who have the ability to provide informationvaluable on the behavior , ecology , distribution and migration of many types of birds.


What do you study

Ornithologists as they are called those engaged in research of ornithology are those in charge of studying the birds in any form and in any habitat in which they are including zoos and natural environments . We can say that ornithology undergoes a series of studies that are related to the functions that occur within the body of each bird and seeks a way to understand its anatomy and morphology .

History of ornithology

In the Middle Ages of Europe , many treaties birds were seeking how to explain practical aspects of ornithology, particularly falconry and management of game birds . In the middle of the 18th century until the end of the 19th century , importance was given to the description and classification of new species. At the beginning of the 20th century , the vast majority of birds were known to science , although biologyof many species was practically unknown. In the second half of the 19th century, many studies were carried out on the internal anatomy of birds, mainly for its application to taxonomy . Anatomical study was overshadowed in the first half of the 20th century by the growing fields of ecology and ethology , but underwent a resurgence that began in the 1960s with more emphasis on functional adaptations of birds.

What is ornithology for?

Through ornithology, scientists are able to carry out studies regarding the functions of the bodies of birds, it serves to understand what are the different problems that can occur with respect to these animals, the different inconveniences that can lead to affect the ecosystems in which they develop, with the aim of avoiding their extinction . It also helps to understand the habits that birds have, their song , their common practices and the way in which they are related to other species .


There are three fields or branches for the study of ornithology which are: collection, field research and laboratory research.

  • The collection is related to the traditional biological approach to studying birds, and is made through the collection of living and deceased specimens. These specimens are analyzed for anatomy , physiology, and DNA .
  • The research in the field involves scientists working in the field , pointing counts populations , recording songs of birds, and collecting, whether permanently or temporarily the live specimens for a more direct observation. Are indirect observations including nesting sites, materials nesting or food resources for birds that live in a particular place.
  • The research based on laboratory includes analysis of the results of field studies or analysis of live birds for studies related to animal intelligence, interactions from bird to bird and from bird to man, and different treatments doctors.


Ornithology is important because through it we get to know the different types of birds that exist on the planet and also know their environments , behavior , life forms , reproduction and nesting . He also tells us about the different methods to ensure that birds survive different changes over time and in their habitats .

Featured Ornithologists

Some of the most prominent ornithologists that have emerged over the years have been:

  • Pierre Belon who did one of the most relevant investigations that still have repercussions today and which involved talking and studying the most relevant characteristics of birds in his book L’Histoire de la nature des oyseaux . He also made comparisons between the human skeleton and birds.
  • William Turner published the first study carried out in the British community which spoke about the history of birds that were found mainly frequently in the cities of this country.
  • Francis Willugbhby and John Ray who contributed modern scientific ornithological knowledge . He began to order and classify the birds according to their habits and anatomy , forming a classification for each one of them.
  • Mathurin Jacques Brisson and Georges Louis Leclerc were important scientists who left us important lessons.
  • François Le Vaillant who dedicated himself to collecting information, studying and publishing the characteristics of African birds .
  • Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot who spent much of his life observing and understanding the different North American birds , until he managed to write a book with all their practices and habitats.

Ornithology books

If we want to study more about ornithology, we also have several books that explain more about the term, among them we find:

  • Birds of Prey by Antonio Manzanares
  • The Encyclopedia of Domestic Birds , by Esther Verhoef.
  • Exotic birds from Editorial Omega
  • Ornithology , the phaeo mutation in the canary.
  • The extraordinary world of birds by Luis Martínez

Examples of ornithology

Some examples of birds with which ornithology can be started are the following:

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

The males and females are very easy to distinguish by the head, much more striking and colored in black and brown in the males, while the females have a brown color that is more homogeneous.

Common blackbird (Tordus merula)

It is well known as “the black bird with an orange beak . ” The male is deep black in plumage with a strong orange bill mainly in summer, and the females are less black.

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