birds with long beaks

Birds come in an incredible range of shapes and sizes. But, have you ever looked closely at their beaks. The size and shape of a bird’s beak can often determine what type of foods it prefers.

To understand this a little better, we’re going to have a look at birds with long beaks to see how the size of their beak relates to their diet, their behavior and even their habit.

Here are 15 birds that have long beaks.


1. American Woodcock (Scolopax minor)

These small shorebirds have long and slender beaks that allow them to forage in the sand for their favorite foods. They are found mostly in North America.

  • Length – 1 feet
  • Weight – 7 ounces
  • Wingspan – 1.6 feet
  • Habitat – slow-flowing streams and rivers, wetland, ponds and lakes
  • Diet – snails, earthworms, millipedes, flies, ants, beetles, and spiders

2. Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca)

Also commonly known as the black egret, this bird is native to Africa, Sudan, Madagascar, Greece and Italy. You would often see this bird perched on a rock or tree branch with its wings outstretched in the sun. Its characteristics include:

  • Length – 3 feet
  • Weight – 14 ounces
  • Wingspan – 5 feet
  • Habitat – freshwater lakes, ponds and shallow waters
  • Diet – fish, clams, crustacean, squid, frogs, aquatic insects, rodents, and small snakes

An interesting fact about these birds is that they not only sit with their wings outstretched to enjoy the sunshine, but this behavior also helps the black herons to look for food. The enormous wings cast shadows on the water and this helps the birds to catch fish more easily with their long beaks.

3. Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)

The black stork is a magnificent bird found mostly in South Africa, China, Taiwan and South Korea. It’s beautiful shiny black feathers are enhanced by its red eye patch and its long red beak.

  • Length – 3.6 feet
  • Weight – over 6 pounds
  • Wingspan – 5 feet
  • Habitat – rivers, lakes, estuaries and ponds
  • Diet – amphibians, crabs, small reptiles, snails, mollusks, shrimps, earthworms and aquatic insects

An interesting fact about this lovely bird is that it will clap its beak when its excited or looking to mate.

4. Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus)

The dalmatian pelican is one of the largest pelicans in the world. In fact, these birds are regarded as the largest flying bird in the entire world. Here are some characteristics of this large bird:

  • Length – 6 feet
  • Weight – over 20 pounds
  • Wingspan – 11.5 feet
  • Habitat – rivers, lakes, estuaries and wetlands
  • Diet – fish, eels, amphibians, small reptiles and crustaceans

Dalmatian pelicans use their enormous beaks to catch a variety of fish which form a large part of their diet. These majestic birds mate for life and raise numerous young together.

5. Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea)

This long-necked wading bird also has a long pointed beak that it obviously uses to forage for food in the shallows. It’s quite a wide-ranging bird and can be found in Japan, Asia, Europe and parts of Africa.

  • Length – 3.2 feet
  • Weight – 4.6 pounds
  • Wingspan – 6.5 feet
  • Habitat – lakes, rivers, ponds and estuaries
  • Diet – fish, crustaceans, amphibians, mollusks, rodents, snakes and small birds

These birds have a long, s-shaped neck and very long legs.

6. Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis)

These distinctive-looking birds are mainly found in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Their long beaks are quite impressive with the upper beak being a bright yellow color and the lower one mostly white. Like other hornbills, they have a distinctive horn-shaped growth on the top of their head.

  • Length – 4 feet
  • Weight – just over 6 pounds
  • Wingspan – 5 feet
  • Habitat – mostly forests
  • Diet – reptiles, amphibians, insects, small mammals, eggs, birds and fruit

Some interesting facts about these birds is that they can eat around 150 figs in just one meal and the beat of their large wings can be heard from almost a mile away.

7. Great Spotted Kiwi (Apteryx haastii)

This bird is unusual in that it doesn’t fly. It lives mainly in the South Island in New Zealand. Kiwis are nocturnal which means that they hunt for food during the night and sleep during the day.

  • Length – 1.5 feet
  • Weight – over 6 pounds
  • Wingspan – 1.6 feet
  • Habitat – forests, grasslands and scrub country
  • Diet – mostly insects, earthworms, snails, spiders and freshwater crayfish

8. Keel-Billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus)

When you look at this colorful bird, you can see why it’s also commonly called the rainbow-billed toucan. The lovely long, curved beak sports a variety of different colors including lime green, dark red, yellow and orange.

  • Length – 1.6 feet
  • Weight – just under 1 pound
  • Wingspan – 5 feet
  • Habitat – mostly rainforests in southern Mexico and Colombia
  • Diet – lizards, fruit, nestlings and bird eggs

9. Long-Billed Curlew (Numenius americanus)

This bird has a very long and slender beak. It can be found mostly in North America. Its feathers feature lovely striped markings of white and brown.

  • Length – 2 feet
  • Weight – just over 1.3 pounds
  • Wingspan – 3 feet
  • Habitat – wetlands, mudflats, tidal estuaries, agricultural and flooded fields and beaches
  • Diet – shrimps, crabs, crustaceans, insects, spiders and eggs

It’s easy to see that the long, slim beaks that these birds have, allow them to forage in the sand and the mud for the foods that they like to eat.

10. Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros)

You’re unlikely to come across this amazing bird unless you visit Sumatra, Borneo, Java, southern Thailand or Singapore. It’s a large bird with a long bright orange and white beak with a distinctive horn-type appendage above the beak in the same colors. This makes it look like it has two beaks instead of just one. The bird has black plumage all over but the tail is banded with white and black.

  • Length – 3 feet
  • Weight – over 5 pounds
  • Wingspan – 5 feet
  • Habitat – mostly rainforests
  • Diet – small reptiles and rodents, insects, fruit, and smaller birds

11. Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja)

There’s no mistaking why this bird is called a roseate spoonbill. Its plumage is a lovely rosy pink color and its long beak culminates in the shape of a spoon. Being a wading bird, the spoon-shaped beak helps the bird to scoop up the crustaceans that it finds in the swamps that it inhabits.

  • Length – nearly 3 feet
  • Weight – just over 2 pounds
  • Wingspan – 4.5 feet
  • Habitat – swamps, marshes and mangroves
  • Diet – fish, mollusks, shrimp, insects and snails

An interesting fact about this bird is that it is believed that the pink color of its feathers can be attributed to its diet of crustaceans. When the chicks are born, they don’t have the distinctive spoon shape on their bills. This develops as they mature.

12. Shoe-billed Stork (Balaeniceps rex)

This impressive stork not only has a long beak but it’s exceptionally wide as well and in the shape of a shoe.

  • Length – 5 feet
  • Weight – over 12 pounds
  • Wingspan – 7.5 feet
  • Habitat – swamps and wetlands
  • Diet – fish, eels, snakes and lizards

These birds prefer to hunt, eat and live alone and will only be seen in pairs during mating season.

13. Straw-Necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis)

The most amazing thing about the straw-necked ibis apart from its long, curved beak, is the lovely rainbow colors on its feathers that are normally only visible in the sunlight. These birds are mainly found in Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia.

  • Length – 2.5 feet
  • Weight – just over 3 pounds
  • Wingspan – 4 feet
  • Habitat – wetlands, pastures, lagoons, swamps, and both wet and dry grasslands
  • Diet – crustaceans, yabbies, grasshoppers and other grubs

These birds got their name due to the straw-like feathers that adorn their long white necks.

14. White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)

This large stork has mostly white feathers with black-feathered wings. This makes it quite distinctive. It also has a long red beak that matches in color to its similarly long red legs. Its characteristics include:

  • Length – 3.2 feet
  • Weight – 9 pounds
  • Wingspan – 6.5 feet
  • Habitat – flooded river plains, wetlands, and water meadows
  • Diet – small mammals, fish, frogs, grasshoppers, beetles, crickets, lizards, snakes, and earthworms

15. Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)

This interesting-looking stork is mainly found in tropical and subtropical regions in the Carribean and North America, especially in places like Florida, California, and Mexico. It has interesting head and neck markings and a long pale pink beak.

  • Length – 4 feet
  • Weight – 5.5 pounds
  • Wingspan – 5.5 feet
  • Habitat – swamps, wetlands, mangroves and marshes
  • Diet – fish, amphibians, reptiles and seeds

Interestingly, these birds can fly over 50 miles when they’re looking for food. Additionally, they can fly at an altitude of around 6000 feet above sea level.

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