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Birds are excellent adapters, evolving both physically and behaviorally to exist in a variety of different environments. While you may think of birds as being creatures of the air, waterfowl are an example of birds adapting and thriving in environments in which we may not expect to see them. Unlike perching birds and birds of prey, waterfowl have webbed feet adapted to paddling in the water, and secrete a special oil that, when groomed into their feathers, helps keep them dry. Their diet, too, is suited to a semi-acquatic life, and while some feed on the plants that grow around water, others are skillful at diving and fishing.


Waterfowl such as swans and ducks produce a special oil near the base of their tail, which helps keep their feathers watertight. The bird rubs its bill onto the secreting gland, and spreads the oil across their feathers as they groom, making sure they're always ready for another swim.
 

 

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For more fun facts, click on the individual birds on the left of the page.