Cue Card Sample

Describe a common bird in your country - Cue Card # 311

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Describe a common bird in your country.

You should say:

  • what bird it is
  • how it looks like
  • where you can see it

and explain some common characteristics of this bird.

Sample Answer 1:
I live in England, and we are lucky in that we have many birds that visit our gardens as lots of people like to put out food to feed them, especially in the winter months. I’m going to tell you about one such common but distinctive bird. I will explain what it is, describe its appearance as best I can, let you know where you can see it and share with you some of its most common characteristics.

The bird I’m thinking of is the Robin, sometimes it’s referred to as robin redbreast, and it often features on wintry scenes on Christmas Cards.

These birds are very distinctive and enormously popular, in fact, earlier in 2015 it was voted Britain’s favourite native bird, and I’m not at all surprised. They are easy to identify, and very confident around people, so everyone knows a robin near to where they live. Size-wise I think they are about five to five and a half inches in length. They have a distinctly rounded appearance, when they fluff up their feathers for warmth in winter they can appear almost spherical, it makes you wonder how they can fly! The male and female are similar in colouration. Despite their name ‘redbreast’ in fact, they have an orange breast and face lined with grey, then brown upperparts and a whitish belly. It is the orange which is the most distinctive though, I don’t think a robin has ever been wrongly identified! I have been told the reason they are called ‘redbreast’ even though their colour is clearly orange, is because years ago there wasn’t a word for ‘orange’ in the English language, and red was the nearest approximation, I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s possible.

You can see robins in gardens everywhere. They are noisy and territorial so you will often only have one, or a pair in any patch of property. Although they are thought of as friendly because of how domesticated they appear with people, they can be pretty vicious with each other. It is not uncommon to see a robin furiously hurling itself at its own reflection in a window pane, attacking the glass with its wings and beak, thinking it is seeing off a rival. They are unconcerned by humans, not necessarily tame, but habituated to people they have learned that they can benefit from some human behaviours. For example, they will be attracted by the smell of newly turned earth, so if you are gardening, or sweeping leaves it is a very common experience for a robin to come and join you. They will come really close, standing on the handle of a garden fork to watch for worms or insects which they will then fly down and eat. It is very satisfying if you are digging to turn up a worm and see a hungry robin seize it – less satisfying for the worm I suppose!

If you are living in the UK or even parts of Europe, I’m sure you’ll know this bird already, but even if you don’t I’d be surprised if you hadn’t seen one on a Christmas card or in a Christmas film at some point – they get everywhere.

[ Written by - Lucy Marris | Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]


Model Answer 2:
Some people in India like to call them “birds in the backyards” while some others like to consider them as the symbols of “undying love” because they often pair for life. But, to me and many other common people like me in India, they are more popularly known as “Myna” bird.

Although this little bird, which is about 23 to 26 cm long and weighs about 82 to 143 gram, native to India, they are also found in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar in large numbers. Being the birds of the starling family (Sturnidae), even though, this is a group of passerine birds, which occur naturally only in southern and eastern Asia, they can also be found in North America, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Having a wingspan of 120 to 142 mm, these are popular birds as crop pest control agents. 

Common mynas live in a range of climates and habitats and are extremely adaptable. They prefer warm to hot climates and are more abundant in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate areas. Open areas where there is little tree cover, such as suburban open parks and gardens, are their prime habitats. The common myna also inhabits in cleared agricultural areas, especially open grasslands, cultivated paddocks, and plantations. The Common Myna can be closely associated with human habitation as well, including roof voids and bridges.

As far as the common characteristics of these “myna” birds are concerned, they are usually small and stocky birds. Mynah birds have blackheads and brown bodies and wings, with bright yellow-orange bills, feet and skin around the eyes. The underside of the wings has white patches, which are generally visible only during the flight. Both males and females aggressively defend their nests, although the female is the primary nester once the eggs are laid. Both parents will feed the chicks until they leave the nest, usually within a month of hatching. Finally, Mynah birds are the best mimics on the planet, rivalling parrots in their speaking ability. 

Model Answer 3:
The kingfisher is a common bird in our country and it is really a beautiful bird. This bird probably got its name from its habit of catching fishes from the ponds and lakes.

In a single word, this, in my opinion, is the most beautiful bird I have ever seen. This bird has got red, blue, greyish, yellow and many other colour combinations on its father and the tail is usually longer than other birds. The keen eyes, the speedy movement and its ability to catch fishes in the blink of eyes make it a very distinguishable bird. In our country, the bird is very common in urban and village area where lots of ponds, lakes and rivers are available. Since it catches fishes, it can be seen near the water mostly.

This bird is a fine hunter. The way it flies and catches fishes is simply amazing. I have never seen any other birds that can catch fishes or other insects so fast. The gorgeous colour combination, the thin and long tail makes this bird exceptional from other birds. This bird can be seen mostly in the morning and in the evening as fishes come to the upper side of the water at that time. I really like this bird and definitely, it is a bird of beauty and skill.

Your ability to talk about this Cue Card Topic would enable you to talk about the following Cue Card Topics as well:

  1. Describe a bird you know about.
  2. Describe an animal or a bird in your country.
  3. Describe a beautiful creature you know about.
  4. Describe a distinguishable animal you know about.
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