Name:____________________________________________

Bird Beaks and Feet

birds 2

birds1

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. Examine each bird and fill out the table below.

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

3 toes in front, 1 behind - perching
2 toes in front, 2 behind - climbing
Powerful curved talons - grasping prey
Webbed - swimming
Long and thin - wading
Thick and stout - running

Beaks

Short and thick - seed cracking
Long and thin, slightly curved - eating nectar
Strong, chisel like - drilling
Sharp, curved and pointed - tearing flesh
Long and flattened - straining algae and plants
Spear shaped - spearing fish

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?