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Home Adaptations Beaks Striking
Green Heron

Green Heron
(Courtesy NEBRASKAland Magazine/NGPC)

It's one thing to use a beak to gulp down a passing insect, but what if you're a bird with a bigger appetite?

You'll probably want to eat a bigger creature.

What type of beak is useful then?

The heron and the egret find their long, broad, pointed beaks useful when hunting fish, frogs, crustaceans, and other small animals that live in and around water.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron
(Courtesy NEBRASKAland Magazine/NGPC)

Whether their prey is swimming, hopping, crawling, or skittering, herons and egrets use the same hunting method. First, the bird stalks its prey in shallow water, moving slowly and painstakingly, waiting for just the right opportunity.

Then, when they spot something suitable to eat, they quickly strike at it.

Typically, a heron or egret will grab the food between its upper and lower bill, and but once in a while the bird uses its beak to actually spear its intended dinner.

Whether the bird grabs its meal or stabs its meal, it always ends the same way: the prey goes down the throat in one big gulp.


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