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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Beak:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Expand : functions: feeding, preening, manipulating objects (nesting material, fecal sacs, etc.), communication and displays
  • Merge : check with turtle folks about tomium
  • Photo : interior of bird's beak
  • Other : add section on abnormalities and diseases; appendages (knobs, plates, etc.); "hen's teeth"; evolutionary process; internal structures; gape; commissure

Bit more information[edit]

There should be a smidge more information here, such as the composition.. shape of bones in the beak, outer material... that sort of thing.

I was looking for information about bird's teeth. --Hugo Spinelli (talk) 02:34, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Beak and bill[edit]

Is there any difference between "beak" and "bill" in this meaning? --Angr/tɔk tə mi 12:45, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

only that bill isn't much used for sharp beaks, otherwise no.

what about squids and octopus? they have beaks don't they?

That is something I came to this article wondering about, what is the relationship between dinosaur beaks and bird beaks? protohiro 05:23, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

In certain insect groups, the mouthparts are also sometimes referred to as a beak. Would it be useful to include a section detailing beaks in organisms other than just birds? --Jhml 18:27, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

The statement "these terms are interchangeable" is not supported by the cited source. (talk) 08:15, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

There is a difference between beak and bill - these are not interchangeable: '“The entire mouth structure of a bird is called the bill,” said Larry Nemetz, DVM, a birds-only veterinarian in Santa Ana, California', while the beak is only the outer part of the bill <> Nozem (talk) 07:49, 11 April 2013 (UTC)


There are some merge templates on this article, but I don't see any discussion about merging, so here's my thought. Wikipedia is not a dictionary, and I support merging short articles about different parts of the beak (such as cere) into this article. --Ginkgo100 14:23, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

I'd have to agree with Ginkga100. I doubt if most people would be looking for cere or nares to begin with. And if somewone were looking for articles on those particular parts of the beak, it is likely that they already know what they are, so a separate article with as little info as those articles have wouldn't help anyway. They would be useful additions to this article, but on their own they don't make too much sense. --Jhml 18:24, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I was looking for the word cere which is how I reached this page.

OK, I did the merge, but the flow isn't very good, so anyone feel free to improve it. Do we need so many examples with budgies?Lisamh 05:39, 25 September 2006 (UTC)


Does the figure titled "Beak" contain information about a bird's beak, or is it not about the human nose? [User: Budrts] 06 October 2006


The term nares doesn't just apply to the holes in beaks; it is also associated with animals noses. Nares should not automatically redirect to beaks - it's misleading.

WP is not a dictionary[edit]

I took out all the references to non-bird beaks under the 'WP is not dictionary' guideline. WP articles are on topics, not words. Since non-birds beaks are actually unrelated structures that just happen to share the same name in English, any mention of them belongs in the Disambiguation page. Ashmoo 06:58, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Turtles, Dinosaurs (triceratops etc)?[edit]

Why are they not covered? I'm particularly interested in knowing what the relationship between these and bird beaks is.--Robbrown 23:09, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for your suggestion. When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make those changes. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the edit this page link at the top. The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold in updating pages. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes — they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. You don't even need to log in (although there are many reasons why you might want to). WLU 00:52, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Sorry don't feel qualified to do so on this subject (but I do edit Wikipedia a lot on other things). I noticed someone else arguing that non-bird beaks should not be covered, so I thought they may have already considered reptile beaks, but maybe not. --Robbrown 18:21, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Evolution of the beak would be a useful addition. Did bird ancestors have both jaws and small beak? Does it have any relationship to the egg teeth of reptiles? Drutt (talk) 13:54, 9 March 2009 (UTC)


I know that there was a merge previously, but I have written an article for cere. I hope there are no objections. Elucidate (light up) 18:26, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Missing importance use of beak / bill[edit]

you haven´t mentioned anything about the beak being a heat exchanger. The nostrils are located on the beak, which are extremely important on heating or cooling the air entering or leaving the bird to minimize or maximize heat loss. For example, in the winter, the air entering the bird is cold. It passes through the beak very close to blood vessels which run through the beak in such a way that the out going air heats the blood, which in turn heats the in coming air. Because the in coming air is preheated in the beak it minimizes heat loss to the birds core. the reverse happens in the summer acting to cool the bird. It is a marvelous adaptation that occurs in all animals. The birds feet are also heat exchangers which allows them to swim in the frigid water or stand on frozen branches. This was part of a animal physiology class I took ages ago. l santry (talk) 18:09, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Nothing on Origins of Bird Beaks[edit]

Why did they evolve? When? What material did they evolve from? Are they former teeth? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:15, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

I would like to know this as well. Drutt (talk) 14:32, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
There are some ideas from old books here Shyamal (talk) 15:36, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Try a dinosaur book. I remember reading about this somewhere. —innotata 17:24, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
+1 for surprise at lack of text on beak origin. Fig (talk) 23:53, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

They are not former teeth, as I remember reading something quite a while ago about early protobirds which had beak-like jaws but hadn't lost their teeth yet. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:46, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Sense of smell[edit]

Some birds have a sense of smell. Where is this seated? Snowman (talk) 22:11, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

The olfactory bulb, located in the bird's brain. By the way, turns out more birds may have a good sense of smell than were previously recognized; see this Science Daily article for more... MeegsC | Talk 00:23, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Where is a birds olfactory epithelium? Snowman (talk) 08:07, 23 September 2011 (UTC)


In the article I am not exactly sure of the use of the word "trabecula", which can be a microscopic feature of solid looking bones. Snowman (talk) 22:49, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Or a microscopic feature of largely "hollow" bones! See This paper for detailed pictures. (page 337) MeegsC | Talk 00:30, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Personally speaking, I think that the paper is not very readable. A 3D structure can be determined more easily by viewing with a microscope than seeing a few selected images. After reading key parts of the paper, I am not sure what comprises the foam in bird beaks. In human pathology some cells containing many fat globules can be described as foamy. Snowman (talk) 21:38, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
Is your email account activated? I can scan copies of the pages of several textbooks I have which illustrate the trabecula very well. These trabecula are not fat globules, though I'm sure you're right about the human pathology. Fat globules would not support beaks under the immense pressures they have to bear while cracking bones, very hard nuts, etc. MeegsC | Talk 03:01, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
I do not use email on the Wiki. Trabeculae are tiny spicules of bony that are usually arranged in an complex 3D array that helps to give mechanical strength to bone. I would prefer a proper anatomical description than repeated use of the adjective "foamy", which I think is somewhat vague. I think that a birds beak is vascular and I would guess that there is vascular connective tissue between the spicules. Snowman (talk) 19:41, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
I see, in section 3.1.3 it says "For segmentation rendering of beak foams in Fig. 8, we used brown and white color for the distinction between bone and soft tissue, respectively." Fig 8 shows that connective tissue is the seat of the bony spicules. The beaks contain connecting air passages devoid of spicules. Snowman (talk) 13:59, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Snowman, you've attributed (via your changes) information to Gill's Ornithology that isn't in that reference. There, it says "The maxilla is a flattened, hollow, bony cone reinforced internally by a complex system of bony struts called trabeculae. The maxilla is reinforced where the greatest forces are manifest. The trabeculae located near the nasofrontal hinge help distribute the stress on the hinge that is caused by biting." (Gill, p. 149) Under an illustration of a Northern Cardinal's beak, it says "Shown here is a cross section of a cardinal's skull, revealing the bony struts (trabeculae) in the upper jaw and forehead. The deeper, nontrabecular areas of the upper jaw are shown in fine stippling: the other nontrabecular bone is show in heavier stippling." It says nothing about trabeculae being in "soft connective tissue"; in fact, it seems to indicate that that any connective tissue is deeper in the bill than the trabeculae. In addition, no reference I've found shows trabeculae anywhere in the lower mandible, so that too will need referencing. MeegsC | Talk 02:30, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
Whoops, as I have described above, it is in the Yasuaki Seki, Sara G. Bodde, Marc A. Meyers paper. Ref now added. Snowman (talk) 20:10, 11 October 2011 (UTC)


I am sure I have seen parrots chewing food. Snowman (talk) 23:05, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

I haven't gotten to the "function" section yet, except for the bits in the added subsections; the rest was there when I started. I don't think most birds chew, but parrots may be an exception. They have a much more mobile beak than do most birds. I'll let you know what I find as I research further. MeegsC | Talk 00:18, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Anatomy details[edit]

Generally an account of the anatomy of a structure would include an account of its blood supply, nerve supply, and lymphatic drainage. Snowman (talk) 08:12, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Yup. And it will. This is a far from finished article, which is why it's still rated as a start and why I haven't asked for a peer review yet! MeegsC | Talk 12:43, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Is the tongue of a bird worth a mention in the article? Snowman (talk) 19:44, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
Probably. And I guess we should probably also include the other things found in the mouth: taste buds, salivary glands, etc. etc. MeegsC | Talk 13:11, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

do u now what a robin bird is — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:00, 19 June 2012 (UTC)


May someone try to edit out the long TRUE! Please? It bothers me, I tried but I can't find how — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:10, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

That long "true" was in the article for less than a minute (at 9:38) before Wikipedia's anti-vandalism bot caught it and reverted it. Sorry it interrupted your reading—unfortunately, it was vandalism by a drive-by IP. MeegsC (talk) 22:45, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

I don't get what's going on but the TRUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.... vandalism comment for some reason still shows on the page. I figured it might be my ISP caching the page or something but even if I go to the page explicitly linking to the latest revision the vandalism still shows. This is very strange behavior I have not seen before (though I'm no Wikipedia expert). Not sure if this is a bug or feature and if it's on the server of client side of things --Hulzenga (talk) 11:44, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

I edited the page changed nothing and hit save and now the TRUEEEE... thing is gone. Still not sure what this was, if anyone does know please let me know --Hulzenga (talk) 11:57, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Sounds like it must have been cached either on your computer or your ISP. I couldn't see the vandalism when I looked before answering above, and could only see that it had been there by examining the history — which by that point was many hours old. Not sure what happened there! MeegsC (talk) 14:14, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

On tooth[edit]

FTA: Despite its name, the projection is not an actual tooth, as the similarly-named projections of some reptiles are; instead, it is part of the integumentary system, as are claws and scales.

I don't disagree with the first part, but current understanding is that teeth are modified scales and therefore just as much part of the skin as claws, scales and feathers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:38, 18 June 2014 (UTC)


The etymology section contains no information about the origin of the word. It only states that the usage has generalized. (talk) 19:28, 29 June 2016 (UTC)Morgan

Added. MeegsC (talk) 03:05, 2 July 2016 (UTC)

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This article says that puffins have a part of their beak called the "lamella" but I do not see that here. Should it be? Jason Quinn (talk) 16:04, 8 April 2018 (UTC)