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Birds are the most majestic creatures on Earth -- we plaster them on our cars, flags and coins. You see them soaring up there, and think they're above all the petty savagery down here on the ground.

Well, it turns out they're dicks.

6
Golden Eagles Will Drop Your Ass

The golden eagle is perhaps the most revered bird in the entire world. It is the national bird of five countries and has been featured on the coat of arms of nearly a dozen others. It is the very symbol of animal majesty and might. Also, it is a shithead.

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Ornithologists consider the golden eagle to be the "guido" of the Animal Kingdom.

Why? Well, let's say you're a turtle. You're minding your own business, taking it slow. Suddenly, holy shit, you are flying! Just effortlessly soaring through the air. Whee!

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"It's about damn time, evolution."

Ah, but now, you are dropping to the ground, your slow turtle brain barely able to register the horror as the rocks rush up at you from hundreds of feet below. Congratulations, you have made the acquaintance of a golden eagle:

Rather than bothering to pry the tender tortoise meat from the shell, the eagle simply grabs the whole creature, soars as high as it can and drops it, letting gravity and the rocks below do the shell-shattering work.

For such a badass bird, it seems like an awfully dickish way to hunt. Keep in mind, in Mongolia they use golden eagles to hunt wolves. Not to harass wolves, mind you -- they don't flush out wolves so a guy with a rifle can snipe from a safe distance. No, these raptors will fearlessly dive in, throw down with and kill wild foxes and wolves that can be several times their size (the bird is only 15 pounds, max). The golden eagle pierces the victims heart with its talons, killing them instantly. To get the kill away from the bird, its handler has to distract it with a piece of meat. It's like a fucking shark with wings. One that torments turtles.

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"Turtles are small fry, Earl. If we work together, I think we can take down a whole midget."

Oh, and if it finds a mountain goat way up high on a cliff? If video evidence is to be trusted, the eagle will grab it and give it the ol' turtle treatment. WARNING: Do not watch this unless you enjoy seeing innocent animals dropped from great heights and splattered mercilessly upon the rocks below:

The golden eagle, kids. It has strength, speed, keen senses, lightning reflexes ... and it uses them to toss petting-zoo-grade animals over a sheer precipice for the sake of an easy meal.

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When you think about it, this really is the perfect bird to symbolize America.

5
Pelicans Are the Sarlacc of the Bird World

Pelicans' defining feature is that they have the largest beaks in the world. That helps facilitate their unique eating technique -- basically they scoop up a bucket full of dirty water and strain out everything but the edible bits. Kind of like taking a big bite of dirt to find a potato. That doesn't make the pelican an asshole, of course. There are other reasons.

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Like the fact that they never do the dishes. Even if it's totally their week.

When we say pelicans eat anything, we mean anything. If it fits in there gaping maw, it's fair game. Besides fish, amphibians and crustaceans, they have been known to chow down on pigeons, ducks, cape cormorants, kelp gulls, swift terns and African penguins. And that's also fine, birds kill other birds all the time.

But that's just the thing -- pelicans don't kill. They just swallow. Remember the Sarlacc from Return of the Jedi? And how the whole horror of the thing was that it didn't bite you or tear you -- it swallowed you whole, at which point you would be slowly digested in its stomach acid, unable to escape? That's how the pelican eats.


Unlike the Sarlacc, pelicans are rarely used as stand-ins for the terrible power of female sexuality.

So, somewhere in the world right now a fuzzy little hatchling is crammed into a Pelican's stomach, anguishing through a gruesome, protracted death. Is there any fate more inhuman than slowly suffocating in a putrid, acidic sack of rotting fish? Smothering in a living bag of vomit while greasy acid scalds your skin, searing its way into every crack and orifice? With that in mind, enjoy this video of some pelicans raiding a whole buffet of adorable ducklings:

And then we have the famous "Pelican eats a Pigeon" video. The swallowing of the live, thrashing bird occurs in a park, in front of terrified children:

And remember this was at a park where the animals get food regularly. In fact, the bird was being fed bread at that very moment. This pelican wasn't hungry. He's just a murderous glutton. Do you really think that pigeon scratching, pecking and defecating inside his mouth for 20 minutes(!) was in any way pleasant? How could that meal possibly have been worth the effort? Unless of course you need a regular supply of innocent souls to keep your feathers shiny.

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Inside that beak is a war crime.

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4
The Shrike Will Impale You

Shrikes are basically little chirping balls of feathers. They're round, pudgy, unimpressive looking songbirds with short, stunted beaks and nubby wings. They're relatively common all over the world, so you've probably seen one and didn't have a clue that it was a depraved psychopath. Shrikes are the tiny sadistic horror movie villains of the itty-bitty animal world.


If they ever make an all-bird version of The Goonies, Chunk will be played by a shrike.

These birds are famous for their hunting habits: They grab their prey, carry it back to a thorny tree, find a particularly long, sharp thorn, and impale the creature on it.

But wait, it gets better.

Wikipedia Commons
Better than impalement?

To attract a mate, a male shrike will go through a ritualized dance that includes feeding the female. Aww, that's so cute. Dinner and dancing? How can that be evil? Then he'll take her back to his place and show off his "larder." This is usually a thorn bush or cactus plant decorated with the impaled corpses of small lizards, mice, snakes, insects and other birds.

Tracks & Signs
"Yeah, it's a pretty nice dead bird, I guess. Once my stock options vest I'm upgrading to a dead eagle, though."

This is what will make or break the deal for him. If the moldering carcasses aren't fresh enough or if this macabre Christmas tree doesn't have suitable ornamentation, she'll move on. "Well I can certainly see where you were trying to go with this," she says while running a critical eye over a twitching, mostly-dead lizard who can't find the will to scream anymore. "Kind of a post-modern Michael Myers with subtle hints of Leatherface thrown in. It's nice, but I'm really more of a straight Freddy Krueger gal myself."

But if the she-shrike is touched by this thorny tapestry of tears and torment, then the two take a territory to terrorize together. By the way, the shrike genus was even named Lanius, which means "Butcher." We're guessing because "serial killer" didn't translate well into Latin.

Marek Szczepanek
Why are the cute ones always into disemboweling?

3
The Black Vulture is a Dick Even Among Vultures

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Vultures are known for only one thing: They eat rotting dead animals. They don't kill anything -- they just wait for their prey to die. There's nothing wrong with that, as gross as it is; these bald, wrinkly, beady-eyed, Patrick Stewart-looking creatures play an important role in the ecosystem.

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By God, it really is uncanny.

But while most vultures are peaceful, upstanding members of the carrion community, there are always exceptions, such as the American black vulture. These birds are somewhat smaller than the more common turkey vulture, and they lack one very important feature necessary in the scavenging racket. These birds have a poor sense of smell (they also don't have bird vocal cords, so they hiss -- which just makes them all the more endearing).

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We'd rather cuddle with that cactus.

If your livelihood depends on stinky cuisine and you're ill-equipped to locate the putrid carcasses, then you're pretty much hosed. The black vulture compensates for this glaring evolutionary blind spot by utilizing a strategy scientists refer to as "being an asshole."

First, they follow turkey vultures (who have a great sense of smell), waiting for them to laboriously and carefully locate prime dead meat. Then, once found, they chase the turkey vulture away from the dead dog or squished possums roasting in the hot sun on the side of the road. They simply sponge off the hard work of their vulture peers.

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Well, not all the time. Sometimes they hang around farms and peck out the eyes and tongues of newborn animals.

Yes, these lovely, majestic creatures will swarm down on a mother giving birth and attack calves too young to defend themselves. Bessie will die from trauma and blood loss, in case you were curious. Then the vultures feast.

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Something to wash that rotting armadillo down with.

Oh, and the best part is that it's illegal to kill a black vulture. They're protected by Federal law and there's a $15,000 fine and a person can serve up to six months in jail for trapping, killing or possessing one. They aren't endangered or anything. They apparently just have high-paid lobbyists working for them.


"Do you want to live in a world without hordes of baby-murdering vultures, senator? Because this big check and I don't."

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2
The Kea Bird Destroys Everything

The Kea is an olive-green parrot that lives in the foreboding reaches of Middle-Earth, or "New Zealand" as it is known to some. Kea are scavengers that'll eat just about anything -- leaves, roots, fruits, nuts, garbage, road kill, hobbits. They're extremely clever and very curious, displaying advanced problem-solving skills. They use those skills to be more effective douche bags.

Markus Koljonen
He's packing a nine underneath those feathers.

The birds have a strong neophilia, meaning they love anything new or novel. So if they, for instance, see your car for the first time, they'll swoop down and use their beaks to rip up the rubber seal around the windows. You know, just to see what happens. They'll also steal anything interesting that catches their eye -- there's one story of a bird grabbing a tourist's passport and flying away with it ("Ha ha, fucking tourist, now you're trapped in New Zealand forever! Tell Gollum I said hi!").

Needless to say, the birds are seen as destructive pests wherever they show up.

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"I will eat your phone first, and your gold fillings second."

But the sheep have it worst of all. Besides being home to the dark kingdom of Mordor, New Zealand is also a land of sheep. Back in the 1860s, ranchers began noticing odd wounds on their animals. It turns out that Kea were eating their sheep alive. They've also been seen chewing on pets and horses. They'll just land on the backs of the livestock where they can't be reached, and just tear right into their flesh with their little claws and beak. Here's video:

How ballsy and/or vicious do you have to be to just stand there and munch on an animal that's literally a hundred times your size? Can you imagine jumping onto the back of a whale with a fork and knife and maybe some cocktail sauce?

Joshin Yamada

What was the first Kea thinking?

"Hey, I'm going to go eat that sheep."

"Haha, bullshit!"

"I'm doing it! I'm starving!"

"What are you weighing in at now? A pound? You can't tackle a sheep, dumbass. You might as well fight a Balrog."

"Holy Christ, stop with the fucking Lord of the Ring references already! The movie was shot in New Zealand. We get it. And why do you always have to be such a pessimist? You also said I'd never get off this stupid island but who's got a passport back at the nest, huh?"

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"I'm sorry, Mr. Hernandez, but I can't let you into the country if you insist on attacking the metal detector."

1
The Warbler Murders Babies

Warblers are renowned for their lovely singing and for not shutting up no matter how many shoes you hurl at them while they do it outside your bedroom window. They also murder babies of their own species, out of jealousy.

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As Bing Crosby taught us, a good singing voice makes up for a lot of child abuse.

The problem is the male of the great reed warbler is something of a philanderer (man-whore) and will copulate with (fuck) all the females in their territory. This presents a problem for the ladies, who each want this young stud all to themselves. We've all been there.

Especially since the male only helps care for the first nestlings who hatch. It doesn't matter if you were his first love. It doesn't matter what he promised you in the throes of birdy passion. The first batch of kids he sees are the only ones he acknowledges.

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"If you guys had hatched like, two minutes later, I'd be feeding on you."

This causes a little bit of competition between the women folk. To get their man, they have to be the first to show him a kid. So to improve their odds, female reed warblers will try to murder each other's unborn chicks. The baby showers are pretty brutal.

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"Donna, your eggs look beautiful! Mind if I have a few minutes alone with them and this whisk?"

So these vixens flit around attempting to smash each other's eggs while their rivals aren't looking. The mother of the first hatchlings to survive the culling wins her man. It's like one of those dating shows on MTV. Only with infanticide!

And what kind of guy would stay with someone who just slew a dozen of his unborn children? The kind who's scared out of his fucking mind, that's who. He probably figures that if this crazy bitch has no compunctions about slaughtering innocent yolklings then she might just murder the crap out of him too. The whole system is about him getting matched up with the meanest, most efficient death machine in a forest full of bloodthirsty she-bitches. Yeah, settling down and raising a family is probably his only option here. Makes perfect sense, Nature.

coniferconifer
That is the mohawk of a bird with no shits left to give.

For more assholes you'd never expect, check out 6 Shockingly Evil Things Babies Are Capable Of and The 6 Biggest Assholes in the Animal Kingdom.

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