What are the rictal bristles on a bird’s beak?
The rictal bristles on a bird’s beak are the stiff hair-like feathers at the base of the beak.
Rictal bristles are common on insectivorous birds. The reason that they are there is unclear. Perhaps they help to trap insects. Some scientists suggest that the rictal bristles prevent insects from hitting the birds’ eyes, but this is a suggestion and not a fact.
Some birds that have rictal bristles include the Kiwi, the Nightjar, the Mockingbird, the Flycatcher, and the Tawny Frogmouth, as well as some hawks, eagles, and kites.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM