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Editor’s note - There are 10,530 known species of bird in the world, how to choose the 120 species that will make the series? Series producer Andrew Dawes shares his thoughts about choosing the birds and making the programmes.

When Tweet of the Day launched last year, it was only British birds that were chosen to lure the nation into wakefulness. Tweet of the Day returns this September with the most interesting, distinctive and downright peculiar birdsong from around the world.

Some birds instantly came into mind, as they bring wonder and glamour to the natural world. Blue bird of paradise, blue footed booby, emperor penguin, resplendent quetzal slipped under the wire immediately. Others like the unique wrybill, or the blood sucking vampire finch, waited patiently in the wings as encore understudies.

The BBC’s Natural History Unit has been to every corner of the globe but amazingly some birdsong was not included in the back catalogue. What the BBC didn’t have, Macaulay Library in America did. The series had hatched.

I could only choose 120 bird species, therefore many will be missing, yet we hope to bring you the best of what the avian world has to offer around the world; the spectacular, the bizarre, the songsters or in some cases those we’re about to lose forever.

Here are just four of the amazing birds who will open the series:


Hoatzins eat large quantities of leaves and fruit. To cope with this diet, their digestive system is more like that of ruminant mammals such as cattle. This fermentation process results in a manure-like odour, hence their alternative name of stink-bird.


The Wrybill is the only bird in the world whose bill is bent sideways… and always to the right.


As he struts and poses, the Superb Lyrebird unleashes a remarkable range of sounds. Up to 80% of these calls are imitations of the calls of other birds but they can also mimic chainsaws and the shutter of a tourist’s camera.


The sound of party-poppers exploding in a forest clearing is a sure sign that White-Bearded Manakins are displaying. The male perches on a stem with his white beard feathers extended and leaps to another perch. As he does so he strikes the back of his wings together creating a loud snapping sound.

Tweet of the Day

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  • Comment number 1. Posted by esau

    on 28 Aug 2014 07:18

    I am really disappointed!

    I woke this morning and was delighted to be told I was about to hear a mistle thrush on Tweet of the Day - a song I have not enjoyed since March.

    I spent the next 2 minutes listening to the harsh rattle of the birds alarm call - what about playing the evocative 'storm cock's song or was the sound recordist's fieldcraft not up to approaching a bird singing its heart out from the top of a tree before bad weather?

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