Bird Families

Bird with a long beak - extraordinary birds


In the book version

Volume 35. Moscow, 2017, p. 29

Copy bibliographic reference:

SHILOBLOVKI (Recurvirostra), a genus of waders of the family. stylobeak (Recurvirostridae). Length 40-50 cm, wingspan up to 70 cm, weight up to 0.5 kg. The legs are long, there are membranes between the front toes, allowing Sh. To swim well. The thin beak is bent upwards. Main the tone of plumage of males and females is white with black (sometimes red) fields. They feed on small crustaceans, squeezing them out of the surface layer of water, a group "mowing" with a beak in front of them from side to side is characteristic. 4 types. Common (R. avosetta), American (R. americana) and Australian (R. novaehollandiae) Sh. Nest in colonies near salt water bodies in arid zones of Eurasia, Africa, North. America, Australia. The Andean Sh. (R. andina) inhabits high-mountain (up to 3100 m) lakes in Peru and Bolivia. From temperate latitudes for the winter they fly to the tropics. It grows nests. material and mud are usually built on low islands or in shallow waters. Ordinary Sh. Is included in the Red Book of the Russian Federation.

Rock cockerel

The beak of this bird, which lives in the rocky regions of South America, is quite large, but at the same time imperceptible. More precisely, it is covered with feathers like a veil. These feathers are a comb starting at the back of the head and ending almost at the very tip of the beak.

Why is it needed? After all, he rather interferes with eating than helps. Maybe so, but he is needed for another - to attract a partner, or rather, a partner. The fact is that the largest and most beautiful ridges are in males, in females they are more modest. When the rocky cockerel begins to search for a partner, he begins to scream loudly, fluffing up the comb. The female chooses the male whose comb she finds the cutest.

The most unusual beaks

The title of the bird with the most unusual beak is worthy of several contenders. Of the ten thousand species of birds, consider those whose beaks are the most distinctive.

Asian Hornbill

The nature has endowed the hornbill with a heavy massive beak. To support this weight, her neck is equipped with powerful muscles. By means of the beak, males attract females; it helps the birds in the fight and catching prey. Another feature of the hornbill is its hollow horn above its beak. It enhances the sounds emitted, helps in battle.

Curly pelican

Everyone can see these large birds with bags under their beaks in the zoo. The pelican catches fish with its throat pouch. There is a hook on the top of its beak. By means of the hook, the bird, before eating the fish, captures and throws it into the air.


The platypus is unique in that it combines the traits of reptiles, fish, birds and mammals. The presence of a beak on his body looks ridiculous. It should be noted that the device of the beak is significantly different from the device of the beak of birds. On the surface of its beak there are sensitive receptors that pick up weak electric fields, and it helps the platypus find moving prey.


One of the most unusual birds is the royal heron, the second name is the whale glav. Its beak is quite unusual - it is huge in size with a hook at the end. Due to the resemblance of the head and massive beak with a trampled shoe, the English call the whale head "the shoe-beak".

Dead end

Dead end

Translated from Latin, the name of this bird means "arctic monk", from English - "fat man", and the name "dead end" has Russian roots. It is associated with the blunt shape of the beak.

Such a large beak serves to attract a partner or female partner. Before the courtship period, both males and females have yellow beaks, but during courtship they turn red.

By the beak, you can distinguish a young bird from an adult: in young animals, the beak is long and thin, and in adults it is "spread out" in width.

In old puffins, furrows appear on the beak. It seems that old men will not be able to deceive a young partner with their red beak - dead ends will not work!

Such a bulky beak is very helpful for puffins during fishing. And puffins love fish very much! They dive under water and quickly swim in search of "lunch", setting the direction of movement with their legs and flapping their wings. If a dead end catches fish for itself, then it immediately swallows prey without rising to the surface, and if it catches fish for chicks, it keeps it in its beak. He can grab several fish at once (up to 20 pieces), pressing them to the upper part of the beak with his tongue.

The beak also helps the puffin to dig deep burrows for incubating chicks.

Longest beaks

Birds' beaks are almost always long. Some of the birds have a beak that is about a third of the body's length, and there are those whose beak significantly exceeds the length of the bird's body.

Storks have a large beak and a long neck. The beak is tapered and colored red. This adaptation enables birds to feed on frogs, earthworms, lizards, fish, mice, moles and insects. For the stork, the beak is like tweezers with which it is able to pull food out of the swamp. It remains a mystery why its beak is red?

Australian pelican

It is this pelican that was named by the Guinness Book of Records as the bird with the longest beak, which reaches forty to fifty centimeters. The body length of an adult varies from one meter sixty centimeters to one meter ninety centimeters. With the help of its beak, the Australian pelican is able to catch rather large fish. On the other hand, due to the severity of the beak, it is difficult for a bird to fly with a straightened neck, the pelican flies bent over.

Sword-billed hummingbird

If we compare the length of the beak with the length of the body, it turns out that the longest beak has a sword-billed hummingbird. The bird lives in the highland Andes from Bolivia to Venezuela. Ten centimeters two millimeters - this is the length of the beak. The length of the body, excluding the tail, is four times less than the length of the beak. With the help of such a long beak, the hummingbird is able to feed on the nectar of tubular nightshade flowers.

The hummingbird, although small, is a very brave bird and is capable of attacking larger birds. The site has a detailed article about the largest birds.

The bird with the largest beak

Ornithologists believe that the largest toucan is the owner of the largest beak. Toucans have a large beak, about a third of the bird's length. There are individuals with a beak that is fifty-five percent of the body length. With this bright beak, it collects and peels fruit, attracts females, scares away predators and protects territory. The toucan is a close relative of the woodpecker. The habitat of this bright bird is the rainforests of Mexico and America. The beak is the regulator of the bird's body temperature, it was established during the research of several universities in Brazil and Canada. It turned out that the beak, pierced with the smallest blood vessels, when the air temperature rises, "takes over" the body temperature of the toucan and "gives" it into the air. The bird restricts or increases blood flow, thereby keeping the body warm or cool.
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When looking at the toucan, it seems that he put on a black tuxedo, white shirt and put on a huge bright beak that does not fit with his body at all. With a body length of 60 cm, the beak reaches 20 cm, and its weight is only 5% of the total weight of the bird.

The toucan's beak is bright yellow, with a longitudinal red stripe at the top, a black spot at the end and jagged edges like a saw. The toucan needs them to keep "food".

The question immediately arises, how can such a bird hold such a weight and why? With the weight of the beak, everything is quite simple - it is very light, since it is hollow inside (it has a porous structure).

But with the size, the situation is worse. According to scientists, a smaller beak would be more convenient when "cutting" food, it would be more convenient to fly with it, and it would be easier to get food. And now the toucan has to, after cleaning the food, grab it with the tip of its beak, throw it up and, lifting its head, grab it on the fly and swallow it.

Some experts believe that toucans can get food from hard-to-reach places with their beaks, for example, from thin branches that would not support the weight of a bird. Also, with such a beak, toucans very deftly peel the fruit from the skin.

Why do you need a bright color of the beak? It is also unclear. Toucan-eating predators are not scared away, as is their huge beak.

However, the toucan manages to exist for a huge number of years with such a multi-colored beak, which means that for some reason it is necessary, just, we have not yet understood why.

Surprising fact: The toucan's beak is laced with blood vessels, which helps the bird regulate body temperature.

Helmet-billed kalao

Another name for this bird is the "helmet-bearing hornbill".

On the upper part of the kalao beak (from the base to the middle of the beak) there is a tight hard hat. The head with beak and hard hat make up more than 10% of the total weight of the bird. They (helmet and beak) are yellow, with a reddish tint on the sides.

Why do kalao need such "decorations"? Hard to say. One thing is known for sure that male kalao very skillfully fight with their beaks, soaring in the air. Sometimes they get carried away so much that they flop to the ground, but still do not stop the battle.

Red flamingo (Latin Phoenicopterus ruber)

The flamingo is known for its grace for the most part, but its beak is no less remarkable. Flamingos feed on algae, crustaceans and other small animals, which are filtered out of the water through their beak.

Red-billed alcyone

Red-billed alcyone

This thirty-centimeter bird with a red beak is a relative of the kingfisher. She is a predator that feeds on insects, snails, frogs, fish and small birds. Such a large beak, obviously, makes it easier for her to get food.

Australian shiloklyuvka (lat.Recurvirostra novaehollandiae)

The beaks of these birds are long, thin and curved upwards. When feeding, the stylobeak immerse the tip of the beak in water or the top layer of silt and, moving the beak, collect small crustaceans, molluscs and insects.



The flamingo is a large bird with a "humped" bent down beak. In the upper part of the beak there are hairs - filters through which the bird releases water, filtering out food. She draws water into her mouth, closes her beak, passes it through a filter, and swallows food.

Yellow-billed Toko (Latin Tockus leucomelas)

Toki are also one of the representatives of hornbill birds. They feed on seeds, small insects, and spiders and scorpions. The horn on the beak of the current is not as pronounced as in many other representatives of the species.

Caps (Latin Plateinae)

The shape of the beak of these birds is perfect for their lifestyle. In search of food, they slowly wander through shallow water with their beak lowered into the water. Spoonbills move with their beak in different directions and, having groped for prey, instantly slam it shut.



There is a beautiful legend about these birds. When Christ was crucified and experienced the greatest pain, a bird flew up to him and tried to pull the nails out of his body. But she did not succeed - she only bent her beak and stained her chest with the red blood of Christ.

In the crossbill, the upper and lower parts of the beak are crossed with each other. Such a beak helps the bird to climb the branches, even upside down. With its beak, the crossbill can deftly peel seeds from cones, tearing off the scales.

Black water cutter (lat.Rynchops niger)

The large asymmetrical beak of these birds is perfectly adapted for fishing. Water cutters fish, flying directly above the surface of the water, “cutting” it with the lower part of the beak. When it touches the fish, the beak closes instantly.

Klest-elovik (Latin Loxia curvirostra)

Of all bird species, crossbills have perhaps the most specialized beak. The crossed halves of their beak look odd, but in fact they are the perfect tool for extracting seeds from pine cones. Interestingly, the beaks of different types of crossbills differ in shape and are adapted to open only certain types of cones.

Curlews (lat.Numenius)

Curlews are easily recognizable by their long, sharp, slightly curved beaks, which help to find prey in the wet, soft bottom. In length, the beak can reach more than 20 cm, which allows curlews to easily catch worms and other invertebrates from the silt.

Collar arasari (lat.Pteroglossus torquatus)

Arasari is another member of the toucan family. A powerful beak allows these birds to eat not only the fruits of trees, but also insects, lizards, and the eggs of other birds.