Here are the main bird beak, or
- Short, thick, curved, pointed beaks
of hawks, falcons, and owls, adapted for ripping flesh. A nestling Barred Owl's beak is
shown at the right
- Long, very slender beaks of hummingbirds, shown below, used for
inserting into narrow-throated blossoms
- Short, wide beaks,
sometimes with hooked tips, like that of the Vermilion Flycatcher shown at the right, are good for catching and holding onto flying
insects. The amazing picture by Dan Sudia at the left is that of a Lesser Nighthawk.
Notice the bumps inside this bird's wide, short-beaked mouth. Those bumps are actually
backward-pointing in such a way that they help the bird hold onto its food, and keep the
food moving in the right direction. Actually most bird mouths are equipped with similar
- Short, slender beaks
adapted for probing into tight places such as bark fissures on tree trunks where small
insects, spiders, and other creatures might be wedged; found among warblers, vireos,
kinglets, gnatcatchers, and others such as the Tufted Titmouse shown at the left..
- Short, stubby, but powerful beaks
adapted for grinding small seeds, found among sparrows, finches, juncos, and others, such
as the Evening Grosbeak shown at the right.
long, thick, chisel-like beaks of woodpecker adapted for drilling wood and
chipping away tree bark and even for drilling into the tree's inner bark, as shown on the
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker shown at the left
- Plus, there are all kinds of specialized beaks
such as the one shown on the White Pelican at the right. The pelican will crash into the
water and come up with a fish in its beak. It may flip the fish in the air and catch in
again, with a more secure hold, and then swallow it. As the fish goes down you might see
that the beak's bottom part is somewhat baggy. It's sort of like a leather bag that can
expand if there's a big fish in it. You've seen in cartoons how pelicans have incredibly
big pouches in which they can place their suitcases. In real life the pouches aren't as
big, but they certainly can expand to hold a big fish.