Throughout all creation, there are perhaps no more striking witnesses for the creative genius of God than the winged wonders known as birds. From their unique skeletal structure to their intricate and beautiful feathers, from their specially designed digestive and nervous systems to their marvelously constructed bills, birds display wide-ranging miracles of anatomy. Shown on these pages are just a few examples of one awesome aspect of bird anatomy: their remarkably varied bills.
MECHANICAL MARVELS carefully designed for obtaining food, bird beaks occur in hundreds of forms. Clockwise from upper left: Flamingo has built-in filter sieve in its bill which sifts small shellfish and other bits of food from the mud of shallow water; mallard duck has strainer bill; crossbill uses beak to pry apart pinecones and extract seeds; hummingbird has beak shaped like a syringe for extracting nectar; pelican has mechanical scoop for catching fish and holding food to feed the young; bald eagle has incisor beak for tearing apart prey; ivory-billed woodpecker (center) has hard chisel-like beak for hammering into trees to find insects. - See PDF for Pictures