Bird Beaks Order by Default Title Date Filename Size Random Hornbills are characterized by a long, down-curved bill which is frequently brightly colored and sometimes has a casque on the upper mandible. Hookbills are parrots including the big macaws and a small budgies. The common thread with all of these species is that they have a curved hook like beak. Hookbill beaks are very strong and can crush the hard outer shells of nuts Beaks which are flat and wide at the base are found in birds which catch insects in flight, such as flycatchers. These birds also often have "whiskers," which are actually modified feathers, at the corners of the mouth, which effectively widens the mouth opening, allowing more effective capture of prey. The edges of a Mallard's bill are fringed to strain plants, seeds, and small animals from mud and water. Hawks, owls, and other birds of prey which catch and kill live prey have sharp, "hooked" beaks. These are used to bite the skull or neck and also to tear the body into pieces small enough to swallow. Mergansers, specialized for eating fish, have sharp tooth-like structures on the edge of the bill to hold fish tightly. Hummingbirds have long, tubular bills that resemble straws, which they use to sip nectar from flowers. Woodpeckers have strong beaks which taper to the tip, forming a chisel for pecking holes in trees for food or nests. Most feed on insects which live under the bark. Thin, slender, pointed beaks are found mainly in insect eaters. They are used to pick insects off leaves, twigs, and bark. This warbler is a good example. A cone shaped bill is found in many birds such as finches and grosbeaks. It is a strong beak used for cracking seeds.