20 Birds With Long Beaks (With Photos)

Birds With Long Beaks

Most people believe that birds only use their beaks for eating. And while eating is an essential function, there are other uses of it as well. Preening is one of them, where birds clean their feathers and plumage with their beaks. Many birds use their beaks to defend themselves as well.

Moreover, beaks also come in handy in the courting and mating processes. In this article, we are going to get an insight into about 20 birds who have prominently long beaks.


Rhinoceros Hornbill

Rhinoceros hornbill - Wikipedia

Scientific name – Buceros rhinoceros
Body length – 80-90 centimeters (31-35 inches)
Beak length – 9.2 to 12 inches
Wingspan – 60 inches
Weight – about 2.4 to 2.9 kilograms
Lifespan – 35 years
Diet – omnivore

Like the other members of the hornbill family, the Rhinoceros Hornbills also have a casque right above their beak. This keratin casque makes their call resonate over a considerably wide area so that they can be heard by their fellow hornbills.

However, the casque of these birds is shaped like a rhino’s horn, thus giving them their name. They live in tropical and subtropical climates and are mostly found in these regions of the Asian subcontinent: Singapore, southern Thailand, Sumatra, and the Malay Peninsula.



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Scientific name – Apteryx
Body length – Northern Brown Kiwi (largest): 20-25 inches; Little Spotted Kiwi (smallest): 14-18 inches
Beak length – their beaks are about one-third of their body length
Weight – Northern Brown Kiwi (largest): 1.4-5 kilograms; Little Spotted Kiwi (smallest): 0.8-1.9 kilograms
Lifespan – 30-40 years
Diet – omnivore

Kiwis are medium-sized flightless birds native to New Zealand. These territorial birds live in the subtropical forests and are quite territorial about their foraging boundaries.

The female Kiwis are larger in size than their male counterparts and lay eggs almost as big as their bodies. They have greyish brown feathers all over their bodies, which are more like hair, but keep them camouflaged and protected from predators. Kiwis are said to have an excellent memory.


Toco Toucan

Birds of the World: Toco toucan

Scientific name – Ramphastos toco
Body length – 63.5 centimeters (25 inches)
Beak length – about 19 centimeters (8 inches)
Wingspan – 19 inches
Weight – about 500 to 876 grams
Lifespan – 20 years
Diet – omnivore

Also known as “Giant Toucans”, the Toco Toucans are the largest members of the Toucan family. They frequent in tropical forests throughout the central and eastern parts of South America.

Their beaks are larger than the head that holds them and colored in a bright shade of orange. At the edge of the beak is a black bar.

The beaks of the Toco Toucan is no good as a weapon. However, it performs the essential job of regulating their blood flow and maintaining their body temperature.


Lesser Flamingo

? EarthPix ? on Instagram: “The majestic lesser flamingo from Namibia by @christiantillerphotography” | Flamingo photo, Animals beautiful, Flamingo

Scientific name – Phoeniconaias minor
Body length – 80-90 centimeters (31-35 inches)
Beak length – about 5 to 7 inches
Wingspan – between 2 feet 11 inches to 3 feet 5 inches
Weight – about 1.2 to 2.7 kilograms
Lifespan – 30-40 years
Diet – omnivore

The Lesser Flamingos are found in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. Out of all the six flamingo species, they are by far the smallest.

These non-migratory birds live in large colonies. They are nocturnal in nature, venturing out for food at night. They have a weak sense of smell and taste, which is why they are dependent on their eyesight for hunting food.


Goliath Heron

Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath) | Nature birds, Pet birds, Beautiful birds

Scientific name – Ardea goliath
Body length – 120-152 centimeters (47-60 inches)
Beak length – 9.4 inches
Wingspan – 185-230 centimeters (73-90 inches)
Weight – about 4-5 kilograms
Lifespan – 23 years
Diet – carnivore

The term “goliath” describes someone or something of enormous size. The Goliath Herons have been named so for being the largest of all heron species. They are aquatic birds who avoid venturing on land.

Fish is their staple food, about 2-3 fish a day is enough for them. However, if they face difficulties in finding fish, they can also eat reptiles and amphibians.


Keel-billed Toucan

The keel-billed toucan, also known as sulfur-breasted toucan or rainbow-billed toucan, is a colorful Latin American member of the toucan family and is also the national bird of Belize. Keel-billed toucans use

Scientific name – Ramphastos sulfuratus
Body length – 42-55 centimeters (17-22 inches)
Beak length – 5 to 9.7 inches
Wingspan – about 3 feet
Weight – about 380-500 grams
Lifespan – 15-20 years
Diet – omnivore

Found throughout the South and Central America, the Keel-billed Toucans are the most easily recognizable toucans due to their unique beaks.

Their beaks are in the shade of brilliant green, with an orange patch on the upper beak and a sky-blue patch on the lower one.

At the edge, the beaks acquire a shade of dark maroon. While they look large and bulky, these beaks are actually hollow and lightweight.


Great Hornbill

Great Hornbill - eBird

Scientific name – Buceros bicornis
Body length – 90-130 centimeters (37-51 inches)
Beak length – 9-10 inches
Wingspan – 152 centimeters (60 inches)
Weight – about 2.15-4 kilograms
Lifespan – 35 years
Diet – omnivore

The Great Hornbill has a large and brightly-colored beak with a casque attached to the top. While the upper beak is bright yellow, the lower is creamy-white outlined with black. The casque is colored like the upper beak.

They frequent in the evergreen forests where there is enough moisture and make their nests in the older trees. The males use their casques to attract females and fight with other males.


Collared Aracari

Scientific name – Pteroglossus torquatus
Body length – 39-41 centimeters (15.5-16 inches)
Beak length – 4 inches
Weight – about 190-257 grams
Lifespan – 20 years
Diet – omnivore

The Collared Aracari is a distant relative of the Toco Toucans. Although these birds are endemic to Central America, their habitat ranges from southern Mexico to northern Columbia.

The beaks of the Collared Aracari are quite large in proportion to their bodies but are not heavy at all. They are made of the protein keratin and are, thus, useless weapons. The lower beak is black, while the upper beak has a striking blend of white, brown, and black.


Black Simmer

Black skimmer - Wikipedia

Scientific name – Rynchops nigra
Body length – 40-50 centimeters (16-20 inches)
Beak length – about 3-4 inches
Wingspan – 107-127 centimeters (42-50 inches)
Weight – about 212-447 grams
Lifespan – 5-15 years
Diet – carnivore

The Black Simmer is the seabird belonging to the gull family found in the coastal areas of North America. These birds are known for their remarkable beaks.

The upper part of the beaks is black, while the lower part of it is orange in shade. Moreover, the lower beak is slightly longer than the upper one. Due to their unusual shape and wide opening capacity, these beaks are called “scissor bills”.


Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill - eBird

Scientific name – Tockus leucomelas
Body length – 48-60 centimeters
Beak length – 3.5-5 inches
Wingspan – 182-215 centimeters
Weight – about 132-242 grams
Lifespan – 35-40 years
Diet – omnivore

The Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills are native to South African. Due to their bright-yellow, curved beaks that are shaped like a banana, these birds are fondly called “flying banana”.

These Hornbills contain a casque to amplify their voice. The casque is more prominent in males than in females. The unusual position of the beak hinders their eyesight. These birds are monogamous in nature and stick with their partners as long as they live.


Long-billed Curlew

Long-billed curlew - Wikipedia

Scientific name – Numenius americanus
Body length – 48-60 centimeters
Beak length – 4.4-8.6 inches
Wingspan – 24-35 inches
Weight – about 580 grams
Lifespan – 10 years
Diet – carnivore

Of all the shorebirds in North America, the Long-billed Curlew is the largest species. They have brown wings that are brilliantly speckled. They use their curved bills to extract crabs and lobsters from the muddy ground. They are highly social birds who mix well with other shorebirds such as Marbled Godwits and Millets.


American White Pelican

American white pelican - Wikipedia

Scientific name – Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
Body length – 127-165 centimeters
Beak length – 10-14 inches
Wingspan – 95-120 inches
Weight – about 7 kilograms
Lifespan – 34 years
Diet – carnivore

With a wingspan of nearly 9 feet, the American White Pelican is among the largest birds of North America. They have huge bills, with the lower bill shaped like a pouch. These birds are skilled thieves and often steal the food of their fellow pelicans.


Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate spoonbill - Wikipedia

Scientific name – Platalea ajaja
Body length – 71-86 centimeters
Beak length – 4-6 inches
Wingspan – 120-133 centimeters
Weight – about 1.2-1.8 kilograms
Lifespan – 15 years
Diet – carnivore

The Roseate Spoonbills are also known as the “flame bird” because of their pink plumage and feathers. Their bills are long and shaped like a spoon, giving them their name.

They frequent in Texas, coastal Florida, and southwest Louisiana. In the 19th century, the plume-hunters killed too many of these birds, as a result of which, these birds have become vulnerable to the threat of extinction.


American Avocet

1708_2417 American Avocet | Yesterday my friend Madonna told… | Flickr

Scientific name – Recurvirostra Americana
Body length – 41-50 centimeters
Beak length – 3-5 inches
Wingspan – 68-76 centimeters
Weight – about 275-420 grams
Lifespan – 9 years
Diet – carnivore

The American Avocets are large shorebirds with a muted red head and neck, white underparts, and brown wings streaked with white bars. They enjoy spending time in freshwater and are commonly found in wetlands and ponds. Their beaks are long and thin, curved slightly upwards.


Sword-billed Hummingbird

The Sword-billed Hummingbird is the only bird to have a beak longer than the rest of its body. It must use its feet to scratch and preen due to its bill being

Scientific name – Ensifera ensifera
Body length – 13-14 centimeters
Beak length – 4 inches
Weight – about 12 grams
Lifespan – 10 years
Diet – herbivore

The Sword-billed Hummingbirds are the largest member of the hummingbird family with a long and sharp, sword-like beak that is only slightly shorter than their bodies. Their tongues are as long as their beaks, which makes it easier for them to suck the nectar from the long corollas of certain flowers.


Australian Pelican

Australian Pelican |

Scientific name – Pelecanus conspicillatus
Body length – 5.2-6.2 feet
Beak length – 15-17 inches
Wingspan – 2.3-2.6 meters
Weight – about 4-7 kilograms
Lifespan – 10-25 years
Diet – carnivore

The Australian Pelican is believed to have the longest bill of all the living birds. They have a white body with wings tipped with black. Their beaks have a unique shade of light pink. They are found in Australia and Tasmania.


Hudsonian Whimbrel

Whimbrel Overview, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Scientific name – Numenius hudsonicus
Body length – 37-47 centimeters
Beak length – 4-5 inches
Wingspan – 75-90 centimeters
Weight – about 270-490 grams
Lifespan – 10-15 years
Diet – carnivore

The Hudsonian Whimbrel is the most widespread curlew in North America. These migratory birds travel as far as Bolivia during the winters.

They prefer to nest in the Tundra, but stay close to salt-marshes, mudflats, and beaches throughout the rest of the year. They use their long and curved bill to extract invertebrates such as crabs from the sand.



The Shoebill: Or, the Most Terrifying Bird in the World | Audubon

Scientific name – Balaeniceps rex
Body length – 110-140 centimeters
Beak length – 7.4-9.4 inches
Wingspan – 230-260 centimeters
Weight – about 4-7 kilograms
Lifespan – 35 years
Diet – carnivore

Although Shoebills are recognized as storks, most of their features are genetically closer to the pelicans. They have been named after their large, shoe-shaped bill. Shoebills are also known as “Whalehead” or “Whale-headed Stork” in some regions.

These solitary birds have an overall slate-grey body with a dull orange beak. The edges of their beak are razor-sharp to kill their prey. They are highly aggressive and territorial about their nests.


White Stork

White Stork Standing - Free photo on Pixabay

Scientific name – Ciconia Ciconia
Body length – 100-115 centimeters
Beak length – 5-8 inches
Wingspan – 155-215 centimeters
Weight – about 2.3-4.5 kilograms
Lifespan – 20-30 years
Diet – carnivore and insectivore

Also known as the “European White Stork”, the White Storks have an overall white body with black patches on their wings with their legs and beaks of the same color.

The males are slightly larger than the females. These birds are found all over Europe, the Middle East, and the northern part of Africa. They are non-territorial birds who stay in loosely structured herds and participate in annual migration during winter.


Dalmatian Pelican

100+ Amazing Dalmatian Pelican Photos · Pexels · Free Stock Photos

Scientific name – Pelecanus crispus
Body length – 170-190 centimeters
Beak length – 14-18 inches
Wingspan – 182-215 centimeters
Weight – about 11- 15 kilograms
Lifespan – 35 years
Diet – carnivore

One of the largest birds alive on Earth today, the Dalmatian Pelicans are the largest members of the pelican family. They are also quite heavy as far as birds are considered, and are thus aided in flight with their large wings. The plumage of these pelicans changes color with the changing season. They are good at swimming as well as flying.



Long beaks can aid birds in more ways than you can imagine. If you go through the article thoroughly, you will learn about some important features of birds that have long beaks. The next time you see one, you will have no difficulty in recognizing it.