Weird Nature

17 Of The Weirdest Bird Beaks Found In Nature 

Nathan Gibson
Updated February 15, 2018 577 votes 102 voters 4.9k views 17 items

List Rules Vote up the beaks that prove evolution has a sense of humor.

One of the most distinctive parts of a bird is its beak and, man, some strange bird beaks exist in the world's skies. Each species rocks their own weird bird beak distinct from any other, the result of millions of years of evolution carefully crafted into impressive appendages suitable for numerous environments and niches. They effectively act as a bird’s main tool, quite amazing considering you only use your mouth for eating, breathing, and talking. Birds however, with their strange, specific bodies, use their beaks for fighting, grooming, nest building, killing prey, and even for courtship rituals. Talk about bang for your beak.

Because birds have adapted to nearly every biome imaginable, strange bird beaks come in all manner of unusual shapes and sizes based on their area, diet, and lifestyle. While some birds sport vibrant beaks that match their colorful selves, other scary bird beaks give their owners the face of a cartoon villain. Some beaks even out-measure the bird in terms of length! With their wide range of designs, weird bird beaks only further demonstrate mother nature's wandering aesthetic eye.

Shoebill is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 17 Of The Weirdest Bird Beaks Found In Nature
Photo:  frank wouters/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

The shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) also known as whalehead, whale-headed stork, or shoe-billed stork, is a very large stork-like bird. It derives its name from its enormous shoe-shaped bill. It has a somewhat stork-like overall form and has previously been classified with the storks in the order Ciconiiformes based on this morphology. However, genetic evidence places it with the Pelecaniformes. The adult is mainly grey while the juveniles are browner. It lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia. ...more on Wikipedia

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Rhinoceros Hornbill is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 17 Of The Weirdest Bird Beaks Found In Nature
Photo:  David Berkowitz/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

The rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros) is a large species of forest hornbill (Bucerotidae). In captivity it can live for up to 35 years. It is found in lowland and montane, tropical and subtropical climates and in mountain rain forests up to 1,400 metres in Borneo, Sumatra, Java, the Malay Peninsula, Singapore, and southern Thailand.The rhinoceros hornbill is the state bird of the Malaysian state of Sarawak and the country's National Bird. Some Dayak people, especially the Ibanic groups, believe it to be the chief of worldly birds or the supreme worldly bird, and its statue is used to welcome the god of the augural birds, Sengalang Burong, to the feasts and celebrations of humankind. ...more on Wikipedia

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The Oriental Pied Hornbill Has A Reinforced Beak For Fighting
Oriental Pied-hornbill ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 17 Of The Weirdest Bird Beaks Found In Nature
Photo:  nbu2012/via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The oriental pied hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) is an Indo-Malayan pied hornbill, a large canopy-dwelling bird belonging to the Bucerotidae family. Two other common names for this species are sunda pied hornbill (convexus) and Malaysian pied hornbill. The species is considered to be among the smallest and most common of the Asian hornbills. It has the largest distribution in the genus and is found in the Indian Subcontinent and throughout Southeast Asia. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. The oriental pied hornbill's diet includes fruit, insects, shellfish, small reptiles and, sometimes, small mammals and birds including their eggs. ...more on Wikipedia

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The Sword-Billed Hummingbird Has A Beak That Is Longer Than Its Body
Sword-billed Hummingbird... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 17 Of The Weirdest Bird Beaks Found In Nature
Photo: Drferry/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

The sword-billed hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) is a neotropical species of hummingbird from the Andean regions of South America. It is the sole member of the genus Ensifera and is characterized by its unusually long bill; it is the only bird to have a beak longer than the rest of its body. E. ensifera uses its bill to drink nectar from flowers with long corollas and has coevolved with the species Passiflora mixta. While most hummingbirds preen using their bills, E. ensifera must use its feet to scratch and preen due to its bill being so long. This uncommon bird is also one of the largest hummingbird species. ...more on Wikipedia

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