Unseen Passage: Love Birds

Reading Comprehension

Today budgies – often called lovebirds in India – are the most popular pet birds in the world. All the adored cage birds of today are the descendants of parrots. They are one of the smallest of the world’s 330 parrot species which have come down from a plucky little bird in rural Australia.

Some appear to be about 30 cm long from tail tip to crown, with bulbous, fluffy foreheads, barrel chests and deep-set eyes. Their colours are striking: vivid shades of blue, grey and green as well as violet and white. Most startling of all are the yolk-yellow birds, called Latinas that are like splashes of luminous paint. The first colour mutations in captive birds were blue and yellow. Today, breeders raise birds with rainbow of colours.

Love birds stay near water when it’s dry, but when there’s a lot of rain they spread out. They are sometimes seen nestling on top of tall eucalyptus trees. While some of the caged varieties would have difficulty flying across a room, wild budgies travel hundreds of kilometres at speeds of up to 50 kilometres per hour to seek seed and water. Even in prolonged droughts, the budgie has an extraordinary ability to withstand dehydration. When deprived of water, budgies can reportedly exist with little weight loss for more than a month at an average air temperature of 30 degrees. At 20 degrees, some can apparently survive indefinitely without water, provided they are getting some moisture from food.

Male budgies can be excellent mimics and can develop huge vocabularies. Hens may whistle and can learn a few words, but they are not nearly as loquacious as males. Budgies are dimorphic upon sexual maturity. Adult males of most colours, except albino and the very pale pastels, develop a blue colour. Hens have a lilac or tan colour that turns brownish upon maturity.

Q. Answer the following questions:

  1. Name the most popular pet birds in the world?
  2. Who were the ancestors of the caged birds?
  3. Where do love birds stay during dry weather?
  4. What do you know about the travelling capacity of budgies?

Answer

  1. budgies
  2. parrots
  3. near water
  4. Budgies can travel hundreds of kms upto 50 kms per hour.

Q. Choose the correct alternatives:

  1. Why, according to the author, are budgies tough birds?
    1. they stay near water when it’s dry
    2. because they can withstand dehydration
    3. can exist with little water loss at 30 degree temperature.
    4. Both (2) and (3)
  2. How are male budgies better than hens with regard to learning words and mimicry?
    1. they have the ability to develop large vocabularies
    2. they are dimorphic upon sexual maturity
    3. they have a tan colour that turns brownish upon maturity
    4. All of the above
  3. Which colour do hens develop upon maturity?
    1. pale pastel
    2. albino
    3. brownish
    4. blue
  4. Find the word from the passage which means ‘talkative’.
    1. dimorphic
    2. drought
    3. loquacious
    4. eucalyptus

Answer

  1. Both (2) and (3)
  2. they have the ability to develop large vocabulary
  3. albino
  4. loquacious

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