Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Beak and Bill

The anatomy of bird’s beaks, rostrum or bills which are used for preening, eating, fighting, courtship, feeding the young and even courtship, is adapted to their eating habits and lifestyle. Although these structures may have significant differences in color, texture, shape, and size, they are basically bony projections, in the lower and upper mandibles, and also have two holes leading to the respiratory system, commonly referred to as nares lead. The features bill, beak and rostrums are evident in different species hence serve different purposes. 


What is a Beak?

Beaks are basically a layer of the epidermis and are made up of a substance called keratin. They also have two holes, which are visible at the top, called nares, whose use is respiration. Beaks are connected by soft tissues and bones and may be of diverse types, such as thin, sharp, curved, long, slender, flat, conical and chisel beaks, just to name a few. 

Despite the fact that beaks have many functions, the most significant one is feeding. Characteristics of birds can hence be easily categorized according to a bird’s beak structure, which in turn corresponds to the feeding habits. 


What is a Bill?

Bills are mostly common in birds such as flamingos, spoonbills, and pelicans which enable them to filter food in water. They have two parts, the fleshy covering and the bony skeleton of the jaws. Some birds such as finches use the bill to open seeds


Similarities Between Beak and Bill

  • Both are body parts in birds whose common use is for feeding.


Differences Between Beak and Bill

  1. Outlook

While beaks are pointed and rounded at the end, bills are flat and rounded on the end. 

  1. Feeding habits

Beaks are common in birds that mainly feed on meat. On the other hand, bills are common in birds that feed on water creatures. 

Beak vs. Bill: Comparison Table


Summary of Beak vs. Bill

Whereas beaks and bills serve the same purpose in birds, the anatomy is quite different. Beaks are common in birds that feed on meat such as eagles while bills are common in birds that feed on water creatures such as flamingos. 


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References :

[0]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red_Bill_Bird.jpg

[1]Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-and-white-long-beak-bird-61157/

[2]Home Everard. Lectures on Comparative Anatomy, in which are explained the Preparations in the Hunterian Collection. G. and W. Nicol Publishers, 1814.  https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=ENfsp6rA91MC&pg=PA309&dq=beak+and+bill&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi6ocOOgvjfAhVDQhoKHWf3DvIQ6AEIXDAJ#v=onepage&q=beak%20and%20bill&f=false

[3]Badger Curtis. Bills and Beaks. Stackpole Books Publishers, 1990.  https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=yt5qlr9iecMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=differences+between+beak+and+bill&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiY3ejBgfjfAhVKzIUKHZPyD2o4ChDoAQgnMAA#v=onepage&q=differences%20between%20beak%20and%20bill&f=false

[4]Grant Peter. Ecology and Evolution of Darwin's Finches. Princeton University Press Publishers, 1999. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=5QKGDQ9DpKYC&pg=PA117&dq=differences+between+beak+and+bill&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjQvaKhgfjfAhXsAmMBHczqDZUQ6AEILTAB#v=onepage&q=differences%20between%20beak%20and%20bill&f=false

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