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There are various species of animals that start with the letter ‘U.’ Some of the more special species of whom little are known include the following:

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1. Unicorn fish

Unicorn fish derive their name from the protrusion of their head which is similar to that on unicorns.

Unicorn Fish Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name: Naso
  • Size: 70 cm in Length
  • Height: 51-61 cm
  • Average Lifespan: Around 15 years
  • Color: Have a color changing ability
  • Habitats: Tropical Waters around Coral Reef and Aquarium
  • Fun Facts: Unicorn Fish is commonly found in tropical locations such as the Indian and Pacific oceans. You can find them in Hawaii or Africa.

These fish are from the genus Naso and are in the same family as surgeonfish and Acanthuridae. They can be bred in aquariums but they would need a lot of space since they are relatively big.

Unicorn fish can grow anywhere from nine to about 39 inches. If you are going to put them in a large aquarium, it is advisable not to fill the aquarium to the brim.

You can also place rocks towards the edges to give the fish enough space to swim because they are extremely active.They are commonly found in tropical locations such as the Indian and Pacific oceans. You can find them in Hawaii or Africa.

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2. Uromastyx lizard - Also Known as Spiny-tailed lizards

The Uromastyx lizard is commonly referred to as ‘uros.’ It is a type of lizard that is commonly found in desert-like areas such as North Africa, the Middle East, southern Asia and India.

Uromastyx Lizard Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name:  Uromastyx
  • Size: Small and Slender with average of 10 – 18 Inches in Length
  • Average Lifespan: Around 15 years
  • Color: Beige or Orange with some spot on their body
  • Habitats: Desert and Bushes
  • Fun Facts: Egyptian spiny-tailed lizard (Uromastyx aegyptius) is the largest species that grows almost 30 inches in length. 

They like the sun and can commonly be found basking on rocks. They also hide in crevices to avoid different weather elements.

This lizard is commonly kept as a pet. The animals are in high demand which also makes them relatively expensive.

You can feed your lizard various green plants as this is their natural diet. Their diets are largely plant-based and they should be provided with fresh plants and mineral nutrients every day.

This type of lizard measures about 10 to 18 inches with the Egyptian uromastyx recognized as the largest at more than 30 inches. The lizard takes about four years to grow into a full-size adult and they have a recorded lifespan of about fifteen to thirty years.

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3. Uakari - New World Monkey

The Uakari is a monkey species that is found in South America. They are found in Peru, Brazil and even Columbia.

Uakari monkey Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name: Cacajao
  • Size: 38cm - 57cm
  • Weight: 3 to 3.5 Kg
  • Life Span:  16 - 22 years
  • Color: Black, white, red, brown
  • Habitats: Tropical rainforest
  • Fun Facts: Uakari monkey is bald and often their faces look like those of babies.

These monkeys are relatively smaller with even smaller tails relative to their body size. They, therefore, use their hands and feet to swing from tree to tree, unlike other monkeys which use their tails.

These monkeys are distinguished by their faces which range from a pale pink to a red color. They are bald and often their faces look like those of babies or older folk. This is one of the reasons why their expressions such as sadness and anger are easily seen.

Uakari monkey species have a diet that is rich in fruits and leaves. They are omnivorous and therefore supplement this plant-based diet with insects and lizards.

They get most of their food from canopies and only travel to the forest floor to look for seeds and lizards when food is scarce in the canopies.

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4. UmbrellaBird

The Umbrellabird is found in Central and South America. They have crests that look like umbrellas on top of their heads which is where the name is derived from.

Umbrellabird Lizard Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name:  Cephalopterus
  • Size: 38cm - 50cm
  • Average Lifespan: 12 - 20 Years
  • Color: Black
  • Habitats: Rainforest (Central and South America)
  • Fun Facts: The bird is called Umbrellabird because of their inflatable pouch on their throats that looks similar to Umbrella.

They also have an inflatable pouch on their throats. These are their distinguishing characteristics. This bird has three different species, each with a distinguishing factor.

However, all of them are covered in black feathers. When the males want to mate, they fan their crests which cover the larger parts of their heads.They also make rumbling noises so as to attract the females.

Umbrellabirds are relatively large so that flying is difficult. They mostly hop from branch to branch supporting themselves with their clawed feet.They end up rather clunky because of their size although they can still fly shorter distances.

These solitary animals also tend to stay in the same habitats with other birds, including their own species.

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5. Urva - Crab-Eating Mongoose

The Urva is a crab-eating mongoose that is found in Southeast Asia, Nepal, China, Taiwan, and India. The origin of the name is in the Nepalese language.

Urva Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name:  Herpestes urva
  • Size: 36–56 cm in body length
  • Weight:  1–2.3 kg
  • Average Lifespan: 12 - 20 Years
  • Color: grizzled grey and has white stripes running in the body
  • Habitats: Deciduous forest (South East Asia)
  • Fun Facts: Urva is very active twice a day especially during morning and evening.

This animal grows between 36 and 52 inches in length. They also weigh between one and 2.3 kilograms.

One of the distinct characteristics of Urva is the white stripe running from its cheeks to the chest. These animals also have hind feet that are hairy at the soles.

They are commonly found in groups of four animals at most. In addition to this, they are active two times during the day, that is, in the mornings and the evenings.

These mongooses are commonly found near river banks which are their hunting grounds. They are known to be good swimmers.

They are also carnivorous which means that their diet consists of meat which is from crabs, fish, frogs, reptiles and even insects.

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6. Ural Owl

The Ural owl is large. It has some defining characteristics that include its round head and a long tail whose tip is wedge-shaped.

Ural Owl Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name:  Strix uralensis
  • Size: 50 - 62cm in Length
  • Wings Length: 267 - 400 mm
  • Weight:  500 - 1300g
  • Average Lifespan: Maximum 23.8 years
  • Color: white to pale gray and has spots on body
  • Habitats: Mixed and Deciduous forest (Northern Europe)
  • Fun Facts: Female Ural Owl is heavier in mass than that of a male.

The owl does not have ear tufts. There are two different types of this owl, i.e., the lighter and the darker variety although the lighter one is more common.

Ural owls tend to mate for life and maintain the same territory for a long period of time. To mark out their territory, they sing from their perches. When they are mating, they can be heard in a duet with their mating partners. They become more aggressive during mating season.

These owls are carnivorous and most active at night. They can be found roosting in dense foliage during the day. They prefer mice, insects, and other smaller mammals. They can even choose smaller hares as part of their meal plan. The surplus food is often stored in their nests or in caches.

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7. Urial

The Urial is a medium wild sheep with a stout body. It is basically found in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.

Urial Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name: Ovis aries vignei
  • Height: 80 – 90 cm
  • Weight: 90 Kg
  • Life Span:  8 - 12 years
  • Color: Reddish Brown
  • Habitats: Grassy Slopes (Western Central Asia)
  • Fun Facts: Urial is often known as ‘Arkars’ or ‘Shapo’ and are considered in group of wild sheep.

The species is considered vulnerable to extinction while the subspecies are ranked as endangered. This is because the wild sheep love low altitude areas.These low altitude areas often have cattle, goats and other sheep which compete for foliage.

In addition to that, the presence of man makes poaching and hunting more prevalent as these wild sheep are considered trophy game by hunters.

They are therefore hunted more often than usual which causes the species to be about one in every 100 hectares in these lowland areas. For these sheep, the older male animals form a herd while the females, lambs, and juveniles form another herd.

They spend the day foraging for grass but they do not maintain territories. One important thing to note in these herds is that dominance is dependent on the size of the animal.

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8. Urubu

The Urubu bird, commonly known as the black vulture, is a scavenger. Most of its diet consists of decaying dead flesh, newborn animals, and eggs.

Urubu Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name: Coragyps atratus
  • Size: 22 to 29 inches in length
  • Weight: 1 - 1.3 kg
  • Life Span: 10 years
  • Color: Brownest Black body with flesh color neck and violet head
  • Habitats: Fields and Forest Areas
  • Fun Facts: Urubu has long feet with small webs at the base. Unlike other birds, the Urubu does not have vocal organs. It only grants and hisses periodically.

It is common both in the north and south America. This large bird of prey is about 22 to 29 inches in length and weighs 1.5 to 3 kilograms in weight.

This bird has long feet with small webs at the base. Unlike other birds, the Urubu does not have vocal organs. It only grants and hisses periodically.

Additionally, it has perforated nostrils through which one can see the beak. It also does not have a septum to separate its nostrils.

The black vulture soars high when it is in search of food. It has a smaller wingspan and therefore flaps in short bursts then glides through the air. In addition, the bird regurgitates when approached. This helps reduce its weight so it can take off as well as deterring the predator.

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9. Upupa

The Upupa Africana is also known as the African Hoopoe. This is a bird that belongs to the Upupidae family.

Upupa Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name: Upupa
  • Size: 25 to 29 centimeters in length
  • Weight: 57 grams
  • Life Span: 11.1 years
  • Color: Black, White & Fawn
  • Habitats: Bushy Regions, Parks, Gardens and Dry land (Africa, Europe, and Asia)
  • Fun Facts: Upupa uses manure and grass to line their nests and can use the same nests for years.

It is distinguished by its rich cinnamon color and the black and white stripe coloration on its wings and tail. It measures about 25 to 29 centimeters and measured up to 57 grams.

The Upupa is found in dry areas, African woodlands, and open bushy regions. They nest in holes or crevices in trees, buildings, boxes and even abandoned termite nests.

They use manure and grass to line their nests and can use the same nests for years.

It is therefore common knowledge that these birds have some of the dirtiest and smelliest nests because of the droppings which are never removed.

These birds are generally found alone or in pairs. They fly relatively low and with irregular wing patterns on normal occasions.

However, they tend to soar very high if they are being pursued by a predator.

Another defense mechanism used by the birds is lying flat on the ground with outstretched wings and tail.

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10. Uguisu

The Uguisu is a small bird that is dull in appearance. They are usually light brown or olive-green and have a darker color towards the tips on its tail and wings.

Uguisu Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name: Horornis diphone
  • Size: 14 - 16.5 cm
  • Weight: 15 - 22 gram
  • Life Span: 2 - 5 years
  • Color: Olive Green, Light Brown
  • Habitats: lowlands and mountain forests (Japan, Korea, China)
  • Fun Facts: Uguisu migrates and flies across countries during the winter season.

It is closely related to smaller birds such as the Nightingale and the Bushtits. These birds are relatively solitary and only come together during the mating season.

It is common to hear the bird which is commonly found in Japan, China, Korea and the northern Philippines but harder to see it since it spends most of the days hiding in the shadows of foliage.

Another unique feature about these birds is that they migrate and fly across countries during the winter season. These birds are omnivorous and feed on insects, flies, moths, and beetles. They also enjoy eating fruits and berries to supplement their diets.

When it comes to predators, it is hard for them to find these birds because of their highly secretive nature which comprises of hiding in the foliage.

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