Sifting, Spatula Bills and Spoonbills

The Bird's Bill or Beak

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Tbe Bird's Beak or Bill and the Rhamphotheca or Horny Sheath

Bird Nostrils

Sifting Bills, Spatula and Spoonbills

Birds with Strong and Unusual Beaks including Hornbill, Crossbill and Wry Bill

Egg Tooth and Gender Dimorphic Bills

Sifting Bills

Frequently the edges of the mandibles and of the maxillae are serrated to secure a firmer hold upon the food, for instance in Toucans. In the Anseres these tooth-like serrations are arranged in the shape of numerous transverse lamellae, and hence the name "Lamellirostres," which, especially in the Shoveler, form an elaborate sifting apparatus.

The bill of the Flamingos is likewise furnished with such sifting lamellae; the two halves of the under jaw are considerably enlarged, so that the comparatively narrow upper jaw closes upon a wide cavity. In addition to this the whole bill is bent downwards, in some species rather abruptly; these long-necked birds being thus enabled to sift the soft mud of lagoons with their bill in an inverted position, the dorsal surface of the bill being turned towards the bottom. Undoubtedly this most peculiar bill is a secondarily acquired character, referable to the mode of feeding, which again is connected with the long neck and legs. This view is strengthened by the fact that very young Flamingos still have straight and short bills, which very gradually and only comparatively late assume the final shape. Fine sifting lamellae occur also in Prion (WHALEBIRD), and as a dense brushlike mass on the inside of the premaxillary region in Anastomus. The jaws. of this genus have the further peculiarity that they do not shut completely, being, slightly curved in opposite directions.

Spatula and Spoonbills

In the Spoonbilled Sandpiper, Eurinorhynchus pygmaeus, the end of the upper and lower bill is of a peculiar spatulate and heart shaped form.

The broad and flattened spatulate bill of the SPOONBILLS, the boat or shoe-shaped bill of the Whale-headed STORK, Balaeniceps, and of the Boatbill (Cancroma ), the long bills of the Ibis and the Whimbrel, curved downwards, and upwards in the Avocet, are all illustrations of the adaptation to a special mode of life, and therefore not necessarily indicative of relationship, as rather analogous than homologous structures.
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