ACS Distance Education UK
Click here for an outline or to enrol in our Ornithology course
Ornithology - the study of birds
With more than 9000 species distributed over nearly the entire earth, birds far outnumber all other vertebrates except the fishes. Birds are among the most beautiful, fascinating and amazing creatures on the planet. Their brilliant plumage, the complexity of their social behaviour and the sheer range of their forms have combined to provide a special attraction. For variety and beauty there is no other class of animal that can come anywhere near the birds. They range in size from the tiny humming birds weighing only a few grams to the giant ostrich, measured in kilograms. Their lifestyle diversity is immense. Birds live in all kinds of habitat from forests to deserts, mountains and prairies, all the oceans and even Antarctica. There are birds that feed on nothing but seeds or nectar and others that pursue living prey by sometimes unique and often ferocious ways; their courtship and mating rituals range from the simple to the highly complex and idiosyncratic, and they demonstrate enormous variety in methods of locomotion and flight. This course will introduce you to many of these amazing characteristics within the world of aves.