Why do some waterbirds have long beaks?
A bird’s beak (also called a bill) varies in shape, depending on how the bird feeds.
Waterbirds that have long beaks – such as the herons, egrets, spoonbills, storks, and bitterns – eat fish by quickly seizing them. They spear their fish.
Wading waterbirds also have long beaks because they search in the mud at the bottom of creeks, streams, and rivers for food.
Flamingos have long, downwardly curved beaks with special sieve-like plates (called lamellae) to filter food from the mud.
Avocets have long, scythe-like beaks to skim aquatic insects and their larvae from the surface of the water.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM