There are at least 10,000 species of birds in the world, each species displaying its own unique characteristics. One of those characteristics is the shape of the bird's beak. A wide variety of beak shapes can be found among birds, each one specifically designed to meet the survival needs of the species. In this 6th grade science fair project you will hypothesize what birds eat based on the shape of their beaks.
Hypothesize the diet of birds based on the shape of their beaks.
The characteristics of each living thing are not at all an accident. If a species displays a certain characteristic, it is because that characteristic once served, or is serving a purpose. The beak of a macaw is short yet very powerful. The beak of a hawk, or other raptor, is hooked. The beak of the curlew is long and curved, while the beak shape of the spoonbill explains how the bird got its name. All these beaks are used as specialized tools by their owners, in order to obtain food, though they may serve additional purposes such as attracting a mate, feeding younglings, and manipulating objects. Humans have modeled the natural world in order to cderive the design of many of inventions. It is believed that the "nose" design of the high speed bullet-train, the Shinkansen, was borrowed from the beak of the Kingfisher.
Birds, Evolution, Adaptation, Specialization
Nature is the ultimate designer, be it the web of a spider or a bee hive, nature's designs has provided the answer to the many challenges faced by the human race. Take time to study the shape of products you encounter throughout the day. Can you identify a similar shape in nature?
Questions & Answers
Which bird has the biggest beak?
The Australian pelican, which has beak 47 cm long. The lower beak, with its pouch, can hold three gallons of water.
Make it Your Own
Repeat this experiment with feet instead of beaks.