What is the difference between a beak and a bill?

What is the difference between a beak and a bill?

A beak and a bill – mostly in birds – is used for eating. There are two parts of a beak and a bill: 1) upper mandible (jaw), which is also called a maxilla, and 2) lower mandible (jaw), which is called mandible. 

The beak and the bill are similar and it is considered acceptable to use the beak and the bill to mean the same thing. However, there is slight difference.

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Hermann’s Tortoise

The Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni) is a small to medium-sized reptile in the Testudinoidea family of land chelonians. It is related to the Greek Tortoise (Testudo graeca). 

The Hermann’s Tortoise has a slightly domed, rounded shell, called a carapace. The carapace is black and pale-yellow with markings, but the colour fades with age, and becomes grey or straw-coloured. Its underbelly shell, called a plastron, is creamy-beige. It has no teeth, but it has a strong, short beak. It has scaly brownish-grey, stumpy legs with five claws. Its back legs are thicker than its front legs. The tip of its tail has a spur (a horny, short spike). 

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Fallacy: A toucan can’t fly because its beak is too heavy

Is it true that a toucan can’t fly because its beak is too heavy? No, this is a fallacy – it is not true.

The Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco) is a large bird in the Ramphastidae family. It has a very large, yellow-orange beak with a black band at the base and a large spot at the tip. 

However, the beak is not heavy.

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Why does the Avocet have an upturned beak?

Why does the Avocet have an upturned, or upcurved, beak?

The Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) is a small bird in the Recurvirostridae family of waders. It has long legs to wade in water. It lives in wetlands, such as marshes, swamps, lakes, estuaries, and rivers.

The Avocet has a long, thin, upcurved black beak. It measures about 8 centimetres (3 inches) long. Many wetlands birds, such as Ibis and Curlew, have a long, thin downturned beak, but the Avocet has an upturned beak.

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Why do woodpeckers peck?

Why do woodpeckers peck?

The Woodpecker is a tree-climbing bird with a strong beak. 

It lives in forests. It pecks at the bark of a tree to find its food, such as insects and insect larvae. It has a long tongue to catch insects. It also pecks on the tree to communicate with other Woodpeckers. 

Wood-pecking is hard work. To ensure that it has enough energy, the Woodpecker needs to eat regularly. Scientists think that it can eat 1,000-2,000 insects a day.

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Salmon-Crested Cockatoo

The Salmon-Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis) is a large bird in the parrot family. It is also known as the Moluccan Cockatoo.

The Salmon-Crested Cockatoo has white-pink feathers with a peach tint, a slight yellow colour underwing and yellowish underneath its tail feathers. It has a large bright orange-red crest. It has a large grey hooked beak. The male has a dark-brown or black eyes. The female has brown to red eyes. 

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Southern Crested Caracara

The Southern Crested Caracara (Caracara planacus) is a large bird of prey and a raptor in the Falconidae family of falcons. It is a falconid.

The Southern Crested Caracara has dark-brownish cap, belly, wings, and tail tip. Its throat and the back of its neck are whitish-buff, with dark-brownish bars on its chest, neck, back, and tail. It has large brown eyes with a reddish-orange eye-ring. Its cere is reddish-orange and its beak is beige and hooked. Its legs are yellow. 

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Rook

The Rook (Corvus frugilegus) is a large bird in the Corvus family of crows. It is a corvid.

The Rook has shiny, black feathers with a whitish, featherless area on its face. It has black, shaggy feathers on its legs. Its feet are also black. Its eyes are brown. Its large beak is grey-black.

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Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

The Abyssinian Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus abyssinicus) is a large terrestrial bird. It is also known as the Northern Ground Hornbill. 

The Abyssinian Ground Hornbill has black feathers with white primary feathers. The male has a patch of blue featherless skin around its eyes and an inflatable patch of bare red skin on its neck and throat. Its beak is long and black with a reddish base. On top of its beak is a black hard structure called a casque. The female is similar to the male, but with dark blue bare skin. Both the male and the female have long eye feathers that look like eyelashes. 

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CREATURE FEATURE: Toco Toucan

The Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco) is a large bird in the Ramphastidae family. It is also known as the Common Toucan or the Giant Toucan. 

The Toco Toucan has a black body, white cheeks, white throat, white chest, and white uppertail coverts, with red undertail coverts. It has a very large, yellow-orange beak with a black band at the base and a large spot at the tip. Its beak is light and made of fibrous (hairy) keratin, which is the same material as human fingernails. It has bright blue eye-rings. Its tongue is long and flat. Its legs are dark-grey. The male and female have a similar appearance.

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Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise

The Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni peloponnesica) is a small to medium-sized land chelonian reptile. It is related to the Greek Tortoise (Testudo graeca). 

The Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise has a slightly domed, rounded shell, called a carapace. The carapace is black and yellow with markings, but the colour fades with age, and becomes grey or straw-coloured. Its underbelly is creamy-beige. It has no teeth, but it has a strong, short beak. It has scaly brownish-grey, stumpy legs with five claws. Its back legs are thicker than its front legs. The tip of its tail has a spur (a horny, short spike). 

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Kea

The Kea (Nestor notabilis) is a large bird in the parrot family. It is the world’s only alpine (high mountain) parrot. It is related to the flightless Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus).

The Kea is mostly olive-green, which means that it is well-camouflaged in trees. It has brilliant orange feathers under its wings. The feathers on its back and rump are orange-red, and some of the outer wing feathers are dull blue. It has a dark olive-brown face. Its blue-grey upper beak is large, narrow, and curved. It has a short, broad, bluish-green tail with a black tip. It has dark-brown eyes. Its cere, eye-rings, and legs are grey. 

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What are the similarities between the Alexandrine Parakeet and the Rose-Ringed Parakeet?

What are the similarities between the Alexandrine Parakeet (Psitacula eupatria) and the Rose-Ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)? 

Both the Alexandrine Parakeet and the Rose-Ringed Parakeet are Asian parrots with mainly green feathers and a thick red beak. 

The Alexandrine Parakeet has a red beak with yellow tips, whereas the Rose-Ringed Parakeet doesn’t have a yellow-tipped beak.

The Alexandrine Parakeet has a red patch on its shoulder, whereas the Rose-Ringed Parakeet has no red patch on its shoulder.

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