Is a Bird an Animal?

Is a bird an animal? Well, of course you know the answer to this question. But lots of people don’t! In the Ask Professor Wild series, our resident animal expert is on hand to answer all of your nature and science questions – no matter how silly they may be!

Over to the professor …

Is a bird an animal? Professor Wild Answers!

Are birds animals
Are birds animals?

Is a bird an animal? Yes, of course a bird is an animal! But you’d be surprised how often I’m asked the question ‘Are birds animals?’.

On this page I’ll explain why birds are very definitely animals …

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Once you’ve finished this page, discover more about the animal kingdom…

Kingdoms Of Living Things

Nest full of chicks
These young birds are definitely animals!

There are five main groups of living things*. These groups are called ‘kingdoms’. They are: Monerans, Protists, Fungi, Plants and Animals.

*In America, the system is slightly different, with Monera being split into two groups: Archaea and Bacteria. So don’t forget, in the USA there are six kingdoms!

A bird certainly isn’t a plant or a fungus. Monerans and protists are very small things like bacteria and some algae. That doesn’t sound very bird-like either!

That means the only kingdom left for a bird is the animal kingdom!

Most animals ingest or swallow food, and all can move around independently.

That sounds like a bird to me!

People get confused because when they think of a typical animal, they usually think of a mammal. Of course, there’s more to the animal kingdom than just mammals: what about all the insects, let alone the birds!

Animals come in all shapes and sizes: from tiny ‘invertebrates’ (animals without backbones) like fleas to huge ‘vertebrates’ (animals with backbones) like blue whales!

Animal Classes

This bird (a hummingbird) is an animal …

Organisms within the animal kingdom are categorised into many other smaller groups. Birds are in a group called ‘Aves’.

A big group of animals like ‘Aves’ is known as a ‘Class’.

Animals in the class Aves are warm-blooded, have feathers and beaks, and lay eggs.

If an organism has these characteristics it’s a bird; whether it’s a hummingbird or an ostrich!

… and so is this one! (It’s an ostrich)

Quick Question

Can you guess which class an organism is in if it’s warm-blooded, has hair (even just a little bit), and its mother produced milk?

Well done! Organisms that are warm-blooded, have hair, and whose mothers produce milk – organisms like you and I, in fact – are mammals. They’re in the class called ‘Mammalia’!

So, if anyone ever asks you ‘Is a bird an animal?’ you can tell them ‘yes – it is!’

And if you want to appear extra clever, you can also tell them that while birds certainly are animals, they definitely aren’t mammals!

Monkey thinking I believe I can fly
Er, I don’t see a beak, and I don’t believe you hatched from an egg!

If you want to find out more about how living things are classified, check out the work of Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus, who invented the system. (Link to Linnaeus article at Wikipedia)


I hope you enjoyed this article. If you’ve got a silly animal question of your own then feel free to ask me in the comments section below. I promise I won’t laugh… well, maybe just a little bit!

Check out the pages below to find out more about the animal kingdom…

Related Pages on Active Wild

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