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10 Most Beautiful Birds having Unique Beaks

Updated on August 19, 2017

Birds with Unique Beaks

Great White Pelican
Great White Pelican | Source

Birds attract human beings by their colours,size and shape of beaks. No doubt, the primary function of the beaks of birds is to feed them, but the nature has shaped them the way these birds eat. That is why the beak (or bill) is one of the important characteristics for identifying birds.

Beaks also help birds in fighting for their survival, finding food and killing their prey, courtship and even feeding their young ones.

Variations in the sizes, colours and shapes in beaks have prompted humans to study more about birds. Presented in this Hub are 10 beautiful birds with unique beaks. Many of them are really colourful with majestic looks. I hope you will stay with me to appreciate their beauty.

#1. Mallard or Wild Duck - Female and Male

Anas platyrhynchos - Female Mallard
Anas platyrhynchos - Female Mallard | Source
Male Mallard
Male Mallard | Source
Female and Male - So Happy Together
Female and Male - So Happy Together | Source

Male and female Mallards or Wild Ducks are so distinct that one cannot miss them. Known for wide and flat beaks, they are dabbling ducks. Male ducks have bottle-green head, grey flanks and a white collar. But the female ducks have brown speckled plumage. Males have bright yellow beaks tipped with black and the females have orange-and-brown beaks.

They are very familiar in the temperate and sub-tropical Americas, Europe, Asia and North Africa and found in parks and ponds. They prefer wetlands for eating water plants and small animals. They are gregarious by nature. It is a pleasure to see a pair of mallards, where male and female can be identified easily.

#2. Darter

Anhinga melanogaster
Anhinga melanogaster | Source

The Darters are also called snake-birds because of the peculiar shape of their necks which are long and thin and tails which are long and rounded. Their beaks are sharp and pointed. Many a times these waterbirds are found swimming and only snake like necks are visible above water. Their legs are short and the feet are webbed.

Males have black and dark brown plumage, but the females have paler plumage, which look majestic on slender body. They are mainly tropical or subtropical and known for building nests on trees standing in water. They are capable of covering long distances.

#3. Toco Toucan

Ramphastos toco
Ramphastos toco | Source

The Toco Toucan is known for its extraordinary long beak, which is about one third of the total body length and is remarkably coloured also. Found in large parts of central and eastern parts of South America, it is the largest in the toucan family, but contrary to its size the beak is not so heavy. The beak is yellow-orange to reddish-orange in the lower part and a large spot on the tip.

Fruit is the main source of food and the beaks helps to peel fruit. Since the tongue of the toucan is about the same length, catching frogs, reptiles and insects is facilitated.

#4. King Vulture

Sarcoramphus papa
Sarcoramphus papa | Source

The King Vulture is a very large vulture mostly covered with white plumage. It is found in Central and South America to Northern Argentina. Its beak is not only powerful but has a hooked tip and cutting edges. The colour of the beak is orange and black with markedly visible irregular golden crest above it. There are no feathers on the head and neck, but they are quite colourful, having red, purple and orange combinations.

Solitary by nature, the King Vulture eats carrion or dead animal matter, locates food by vision and smell and can live over 40 years. Not in danger. but has declining population because of habitat loss.

#5. Great White Pelican

Pelecanus onocrotalus
Pelecanus onocrotalus | Source

The Great White Pelican is a huge and heavy bird with a large beak which is bright yellow and blue and a red tip. The edges of the beak are pink and there is a yellowish pouch below. Because of its huge size, the wingspan can measure between 226 to 360 cms.

It has both migratory and sedentary populations. The migratory birds are scattered in Eurasia covering the eastern Mediterranean to Vietnam. Sedentary population can be seen all the year round in Africa. They live in large colonies in warm, shallow fresh waters, lagoons and deltas. Their preferred diet is fish for which they fly long distances and they are also known for a rare quality of cooperative feeding. In Africa they are found in alkaline lakes. They live very long lives in captivity.

#6. Rufous Hornbill

Buceros hydrocorax
Buceros hydrocorax | Source

Known for quite majestic looks in view of the size, colour and shape of their beaks, the Rofous Hornbills are large species endemic to the Philippines. They are also called Philippines Hornbills where they are found in the 11 islands. Sadly, they are succumbing to pressure from hunters and are now also in decline due to shrinking availability of habitat.

They are also popular as 'Farmers of the Forests' in view of their spreading the seeds of the fruit they eat. Another interesting behaviour is the noontime call for which they are called 'the clock on the mountains'. Interestingly, the males seal their females in the holes of the trees as they go out to collect feeding material for them and their chicks.

Enjoy the Pair

7. Jabiru or Black-Necked Stork

Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus | Source
In resting position
In resting position | Source

Called Jabiru in Australia, the Black-necked Stork has a heavy black beak with an upper edge going slightly concave. It is a large bird with striking long coral-red legs. It is easier to distinguish between males and females from their eyes, males have dark, but females have yellow iris. Body plumage is black and white and the neck is dark green and purple.

This species resides across South and Southeast Asia and is the only stork found in coastal and nearing areas in the northern and the eastern Australia. They are non-social and mostly found in pairs or singly. They feed on fish, small crustaceans, reptiles and amphibians. They are also known for preying on eggs of turtles. Their water drinking is marked by bending down with open beak, scooping of water with forward motion and raising the beak to swallow water.

#8. Spoonbill

Platalea leucorodia
Platalea leucorodia | Source

The Spoonbills are white long-legged water birds with peculiar beaks. Their beaks are long, thick, flat and spatulate with dark grey or black and yellow shades. While feeding themselves in shallow water they use their bills for sideways sweep quite elegantly. They eat small fish and aquatic insects.

There are six species of spoonbills and the most widespread is Eurasian species. They believe living in flocks on the ground where they can walk and run. Weaving nests is a joint venture with males supplying the material and females weaving them into a large and shallow bowl.

Watch Spoonbills in Action

#9. Hyacinth Macaw

Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus
Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus | Source

Hyacinth Macaw is a brilliantly colourful bird with large, curved and powerful beak which, in fact, can crack nuts and seeds. It can also crack coconuts. Bluish in colour with dark blue wings, it has a yellow ring on its eyes. It is quite popular in South America. Longer than any other species of parrots, it is now an endangered species due to habitat loss, though their average life span in the wild is 60 years.

#10. Black Skimmer

Rynchops niger
Rynchops niger | Source
In flight
In flight | Source

Apart from the fact that the basal part of the beak of the Black Skimmer is bright red and the black combination with the rest of it looks quite charming, the peculiarity of the beak is the unusual larger lower part of it. Another unique feature is the structure of the eye which has vertical pupil and dark brown iris. Also the voice is very unusual - dog-like bark.

The beak is very thin and true to its name this bird flies so low and drags the lower part of its beak through the water in search of small fish. The fish catching activity is more actively pursued during low light at dusk and dawn or in the night by this colonial seabird.

Your opinion about birds with beautiful beaks

Which of the 10 birds appealed to you the most?

See results


Submit a Comment
  • srsddn profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

    Thanks, Jasvinderpaul. I am glad that you have liking for birds and you liked the Hub. Also thanks for voting and sharing. Have a nice week end!

  • srsddn profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

    Thanks, Elias Zanetti. I am thrilled to know that you liked the birds, in fact, everyone who loves nature is thrilled by these wonderful creatures. Thanks for voting and sharing also.

  • Elias Zanetti profile image

    Elias Zanetti 

    6 years ago from Athens, Greece

    Great list srsddn and a beautiful hub. Voted and shared.

  • srsddn profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

    You are welcome, ladydeonne. It is encouragement by fellow Hubbers which propels me to dg out more and more. Thanks for visiting and liking the birds, which are really unique. Also thanks for voting up and sharing.

  • ladydeonne profile image

    Deonne Anderson 

    6 years ago from Florence, SC

    As usual, you have presented an amazing collection of birds with long beaks. It always amazes me when you do a hub. Yo always seek out and find the unusual. All of the birds are magnificent! Thanks for today's lesson. Voted up, beautiful and shared.

  • srsddn profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

    Jared Miles, Thanks for visiting my Hub and your observation. I am also new to HubPages, may be a couple of months more than what you are. But I find it a great platform to learn. I am glad you liked the content and thanks for voting it up and sharing it. Have a nice time!

  • Jared Miles profile image

    Jared Miles 

    6 years ago from Australia

    You really taught me something from the very start of your Hub, srsddn! You wrote the introduction very well I think. Regarding the content however, well done on some wonderful information, I like these sorts of animal lists, I've written a few myself. Voted up of course, and sharing.

  • srsddn profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

    Vellur, This world is full of so many beautiful things. I am glad you found it informative. Thanks for voting it and for all other encouragements.

  • Vellur profile image

    Nithya Venkat 

    6 years ago from Dubai

    A great hub showcasing unique birds. Interesting and informative.Voted up, useful and interesting.

  • srsddn profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

    April Dawn Meyer, It is interesting to note that toucans are so small, but their beaks make them look larger and it is so prominent and colourful. Thanks for visiting and voting up.

  • srsddn profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

    bdegiulio, Colourful birds are really treat to eyes. Thanks for visiting, voting up and sharing the Hub.

  • srsddn profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

    smw1962, Thanks for visiting the Hub. I am glad you liked the birds.

  • April Dawn Meyer profile image

    April Dawn Meyer 

    6 years ago from Belle Fourche, South Dakota

    I love toucans!! We have a bird rescue center here and they just got some toucans transferred there. They are a lot smaller then I thought they would be. They are so adorable. Thanks for the informative list. Voted up :)

  • bdegiulio profile image

    Bill De Giulio 

    6 years ago from Massachusetts

    What a great list. They are all beautiful, and very colorful. Enjoyed reading about them. Voted up and shared.

  • smw1962 profile image


    6 years ago

    These birds are beautiful! Thanks for sharing.


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