Birds Online
     
  Home > Health and diseases > General topics > Anatomy of a budgie: beak
     
  One body part that is very special in birds is their beak. The beak is a feature that differs very much from human anatomy. A bird's beak consists of so-called keratin which is placed around a solid bony core. So in fact the visible part of a bird's beak is a horny sheath of keratin. In some inner parts of the beak there are small blood vessels that supply the growth zone with nutrients and oxygen.

The upper beak (1) and the lower beak (2) of a linneolated parakeetThere is something special about a parrot's beak: All birds who belong to the parrot family (Psittaciformes) have a curved beak, so it's the same for budgies, macaws, and others. Their upper and lower beak differ from each other in shape and size. The upper beak (1) is longer and curved while the lower one is semicircular and noticeably shorter. Due to the bird's anatomy, the upper beakis the part of the beak that is visible most of the time. In its rest position it covers the lower beak (2). The upper beak can be moved more easily by the birds with the aid of strong muscles. So each time a bird opens its beak, it does so by moving the upper part of it.

Gap beneath the lower beak of a linneolated parakeetIf one takes a closer look at a bird's head from below, one can see naked skin and a gap between the throat and the lower beak. This gap is a normal characteristic of a parrot's anatomy, it is not pathological. Birds need this gap to be able to swallow since the throat is stretched by the food. In case there would be no gap, birds would not be able to swallow their food since the lower beak would squeeze the throat. While birds are preening or after taking a bath when the feathers are wet, one can see this naked skin and the gap. The photo in this paragraph shows a female linneolated parakeet who puts her head back while her partner is feeding her. The position of the gap is marked by the arrow.

 
 
All photos and the text on this page are protected by the copyright law. In case you'd like to use photos or texts for your own non-commercial purpose, please contact the author.