The Adaptation of Beaks

There are over ten-thousand species of birds in the world. All birds have similar characteristics such as they are all warm blooded, reproduce by laying eggs, have wings (but not all can fly), and have beaks or bills. Not every bird has the same exact characteristics because each species of bird lives in a different part of the world. They must adapt to their environment to survive. A great way to tell birds apart is by looking at their beak or bill. They are all different shapes and sizes. This did not happen by accident. Over the years, birds have been adapting to their environments to survive by altering their beaks.

Most all of the birds use their beaks for one thing: food. Because birds are spread all over the world, each species has their own diet. Birds are both carnivores and herbivores. An example of a carnivorous bird is the eagle. The eagle’s beak is short and curved downwards to easily tear flesh off of their prey. Eagles fly over the grassland area where many rodents and small mammals thrive. Because of this environment, eagle’s beaks have been developed into effective hunting tools. If eagles had long, dull beaks, then they would rapidly go extinct and the mammals they feasted on would expand in size of population. This is because the eagle would not be able to capture its prey as easily and would not be able to tear to feast on the prey. This is like a present day business. If a business is selling boring, dull sixties clothes then they would not succeed and eventually shut down. But if they adapted or changed their style to meet the current people’s wants and tastes then they would prosper. According to Charles Darwin’s Natural Selection, the eagles with long or dull beaks would die and the ones with the short and sharp beaks would survive to mate and produce an identical offspring. This is how eagles and other birds have adapted.

An example of an herbivorous bird is a hummingbird. This unique bird is the smallest of the bird species and feasts on the nectar of flowers. The nectar is located in the center of the flower. This makes pollinators to move between the stamens to eventually fertilize the flower with pollen. The hummingbird must get through the middle of the flower to get the nectar. The hummingbirds’ beak is long, thin, and tube-like. This is the perfect solution for collecting nectar from a flower. The hummingbird hovers by the flower and sticks its beak into the flower to collect the nectar. The beak is like a straw; it sucks out the nectar easily without the hummingbird needing to get inside the flower. If the hummingbird did not have a long and thin beak, it would not have survived.

Birds have altered their beaks to survive in their distinct environments. Each bird has different requirements to feed and therefore must act to survive. Carnivorous birds have short and sharp beaks to move swiftly through the air and capture and tear their prey. This was an adaptation that had to take place otherwise the carnivorous bird would not exist. Herbivorous birds have a wider variety of beaks due to the fact that they have a huge selection of food to choose from in their environments. Adaptations happen all the time and take long periods of time to occur. Because birds have adapted, they still exist today.

This entry was written by Tejas M. and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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