Wildfowl Bill Adaptations

There’s no denying that wildfowl are very diverse in their plumages and colourations, but despite the different species being found throughout the world in somewhat large numbers, they all co-exist and live together. Wildfowl are very well adapted which enables them to live and thrive in the same habitat and location as another species, the main factor of this is the adaptations of their bills to suit the type of food the species favours.


Swans are not just adapted in their bills but also the long neck on the birds enables them to reach areas of a pond easier than other birds. They typically each aquatic vegetations which molluscs also eat which fits into the diet of a swan, they’re also a grazing species which is what their bills are perfectly adapted for with serrations on either side to enable them to pull up large amounts of grass, in potato fields, easily.



To create the pink colouration in a flamingo, they must eat a large number of invertebrates which contain a carotenoid pigment: the commonest one being shrimp. The bill has these brush like pieces on either side of the bill called lamellae, they enable a flamingo to pull and push water with the invertebrates into their mouth and out again all the while keeping the food in their mouth, this is done by pumping their tongue 5/6 times per second and by turning their head upstair down to really benefit from their well-adapted bill. The bill is also a curved shape so that the bill is perfectly equal from top to bottom.



Both these species benefit from having a strong nail at the end of their bill but both are from completely different habitats. American Wood Ducks are found in wooded areas and forestries being a tree cavity-nesting species, these eat things like acorns, seeds, plants and aquatic insects. The purpose of their nail at the end is to enable them to smash into acorns and bulbs to break them down to make it easier to eat. Going from inland to the coast, the second species is Common Eider. They also benefit from having a nail at the end but is instead used to break into shells of shellfish and crustaceans as they are a sea duck species.

Fish eating birds such as the Merganser family have a completely different bill to our Wood Duck and Eider. They benefit more from having a long, thin bill with sharp serrations along both ends, this is because their diet mainly consists of fish, the Hooded Merganser is a little different to Red Breasted Merganser and Goosander as they will also eat aquatic vegetation, crayfish and amphibians.


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