Name:____________________________________________

Bird Beaks and Feet

Introduction: A bird's beak and feet can tell us much about their habitat and lifestyle. Most birds are even classified according to structural similarities between their beaks and feet. In this excercise, you will look at pictures of birds and make inferences about their lifestyles.

Description Function
Beaks
short & rounded multipurpose, eating insects and seeds
spear shaped spearing fish
chisel shaped, flat & pointed drilling for insects
flat and square-shaped straining algae
long and fat, like a scoop scooping up fish
hooked catching and tearing prey
long and tubular sucking nectar from flowers
Feet
long muscular legs running
long skinny legs wading
short legs with blunt claws scratching, ground walking
three toes in front, one behind perching
webbed swimming
large hooklike claws (talons) grasping prey
tiny short legs hovering
two toes in front, two behind climbing

Examine the images of birds and write your inference about what the bird eats, and where it lives

birds1

birds 2

Data Table

Bird
Type of Feet
Type of Beak
Probable Diet
Probable Habitat
Bluebird
Chicken
Duck
Eagle
Sparrow
Flamingo
Heron
Kingfisher
Owl
Pelican
Hummingbird
Woodpecker

Analysis

1. What features of a hummingbird make it adapted for its style of feeding?

 

2. Imagine an ideal flying predator. What type of beak and feet would it have?

 

3. Different birds may have similar beaks and diets. Loons, herons, and kingfishers, for instance, all have long sharp pointed beaks for spearing fish. Their feet, however, are quite different. Describe how the loon, heron, and kingfisher differ in the method by which they hunt for fish (using their feet to help you answer)

 

 

 

4. Owls have large eyes that enable it to see well at night. Both the hawk and the owl hunt similar things: small rodents or snakes. How do the hawk and the owl avoid competing with each other?

 

 

 

5. Birds the live on the prairie have short but muscular legs (like the pheasant). Prairies are large grasslands that have few numbers of trees. What do you think the legs of a pheasant are adapted for?