How Your Bird Uses its Beak

Your bird can use its beak to do many things important to its survival. Here is a guide for understanding this unique tool.


The primary way your bird uses his beak is simply to eat. There are, however, many different methods of feeding, depending on the type of bird and beak. Below are some of the major types of groups of birds and how their beaks, and how they help with eating:

  • Birds of Prey: These birds, including eagles and hawks, have large, strong, hook-shaped beaks that are ideal for killing live prey and tearing it up to eat it.
  • Parrots: Parrots, very a common for petspet bird, have shorter hook-like beaks that are perfect for cracking nuts and peeling through tough fruit skins.
  • Finches and Canaries: These birds have short, straight bills which help them eat seeds and grubs.
  • Hummingbirds: Hummingbirds have long, slender beaks that allow them to get nectar from within a flower.

As a Tool:

Since your bird has no hands, his beak is used to do many of the things that our hands do.

  • Climbing: Birds love to climb, and his beak helps him to do this. Make sure your bird has plenty of perches to climb on and recognize that he will try to climb on the wires of his cage.
  • Grasping: The only way a bird can carry something is with his beak. Your bird will use his beak to play with toys and perches.
  • Cleaning: Your bird will use his beak to preen and groom his feathers, which is essential to his cleanliness.


Just like we use our mouths, birds use their beaks to communicate. While some species of parrot can mimic human voices, most birds communicate using different noises and gestures, such as chirping, clicking, singing, or and many others.

As a Weapon:

One of the most vital uses a bird has for its beak is as a weapon. Bird beaks are often very hard, strong, and sharp, and can inflict heavy damage. Your pet bird may use its beak as a weapon for a variety of reasons. If you have other birds, they may fight for control or dominance. Your bird may even try to bite you out of fear or territoriality. Bird beaks are not to be taken lightly.