Top 20 Birds with Long Beaks

Birds are often categorized based on their colorful feathers, sizes, and oftentimes, length of their wings. But have you ever grouped them based on the length of their amazing beaks?

Here’s the list of birds with long beaks!


1. Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus)

Bird with Long Beaks

Where they are found: There are 2 main populations – one population breeds in Eastern Europe, and the other in central Asia and Russia.

Beak length: 36-45 cm or 14-18 in long.

Diet: They mainly eat fish, being carnivorous. They also eat amphibians, aquatic crustaceans, and small reptiles.


Detailed bird description:

This bird has stunning plumage when it is the breeding season, a shimmering silver-white color. It has a bright orange-red rubbery pouch beneath its bill.

It has purple to yellow skin around the eyes. The nape of its neck is covered in thick silvery crested of feathers.

In the breeding season, that bright pouch fades to a pale yellow and in winter, the plumage loses its sheen, appearing greyish even.

It’s one of the biggest flying birds around and one of the heaviest as well. They fly and swim well.

They are social birds, traveling in flocks. They are diurnal, sleeping at night with their heads twisted back, tucked into their feathers. They are great groomers, spending much time preening or resting.

They sometimes hunt alone or in bigger groups. They like returning to certain breeding grounds in the breeding season, being territorial and defending their nests.


2. Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros)

Where they are found: Indonesia, Asia, into southern Thailand.

Beak length: Their beak is large as well as the casque. The bill curves slightly with the upturned casque on top. 

Diet: They love fruit, particularly figs. They also eat lizards, arthropods, tree frogs, and eggs of birds. 


Detailed bird description:

This gentle giant is one of the rain forests of Asia’s biggest birds. Rhinoceros Hornbill are always on the treetops.

Both males and females look similar, with large wingspans and white feathers for their tails.

They can grow to be about 50 in long. The males have orange or red rings around their eyes but the females are white – that’s the difference.

Their beak is a marvel of nature, with a casque on top, like a rhino’s horn.

These birds usually pair for life, choosing a hollow in a tree to build a nest.

The pair will “wall” the female in the nest with mud, and the male will pass food through a small hole that is left. Usually, one or two eggs are incubated.


3. Stork (White Stork) (Ciconia ciconia)

Where they are found: Across Europe, Asia Minor, the northern part of Africa and the Middle East.

Beak length: On average 100–115 cm or 39–45 in. 

Diet: They are carnivorous and insectivores. Animal foods will also include birds, amphibians, reptiles, eggs, fish, insects, mollusks, worms, and aquatic crustaceans.


Detailed bird description:

The stork is a wader. They have ruffs on their chests, consisting of long feathers, and they use this when they are courting.

The overall plumage is white as well, with black patches on their wings.

Both males and females are similar in appearance; the females just smaller.

The white storks are diurnal and non-territorial, gathering in loosely structured groups.

They nest in small groups in the breeding season with their nests in trees or on top of buildings. They participate in an annual migration. During their winter, they gather in large groups that can amount to thousands.


4. Kiwi (Aptery)

Where they are found: They are native to the forests and jungles of New Zealand.

Beak length: The beak is about one-third of the length of the kiwi’s body. So if the bird was 45 cm, the beak would extend for about 15 cm. 

Diet: Small invertebrates, seeds, grubs, and many varieties of worms. They also will eat fruit, small crayfish, eels, and amphibians.


Detailed bird description:

They cannot fly. They are the national symbol of New Zealand.

They have excellent memories; apparently remembering as much as 5 years back.

Their feathers are more like hair than feathers but act as a wonderful camouflage as they go unnoticed especially by aerial predators.

Their nostrils are at the end tip of the beak, enabling them to sniff out prey.

Kiwis have monogamous relationships that will last up to 20 years. Kiwi birds’ eyes are small and their eyesight not great.

The female bird is larger than the male kiwi bird, but the female lays a very large egg; the size of her body. They enjoy subtropical forests and are territorial.


5. Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex)

Where they are found: They inhabit swampy regions in and around the White Nile area of North-Eastern Africa.

Beak length: The beak is large and shaped like a shoe, which is the reason why the bird is named “shoebill”. The beak is 9 inches long and 4 inches wide. 

Diet: They eat big fish like eels, lungfish, and catfish. Monitor lizards, baby crocs, and snakes also feature in their diet.


Detailed bird description:

These birds can easily stand as high as 4 feet. Their most distinguishing characteristic is their beak.

It is sharp and curved with sharp edges to kill its prey.

The feathers are slate grey and it has large feet. They stand dead-still waiting for prey.

If disturbed by humans, they will even abandon their nest.

They are mainly solitary, only interacting for breeding purposes. They defend their nests aggressively.

2 Eggs are usually laid, but the youngest sibling does not usually make it.


6. Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco)

Where they are found: In semi-open habitats throughout large parts of central and eastern South America.

Beak length: The bright orange beak is about 19 cm or 8 in.

Diet: The toco toucan eats mostly fruit. Every now and again they will eat reptiles, bird eggs, and insects.


Detailed bird description:

The toco toucan bird is the largest out of all the toucans. It has a black body, a white throat and its most recognizable feature is the colorful beak.

Did you know that they regulate their body temperature by adjusting the flow of blood to their beaks?

When they sleep, the toco toucan tucks its beak under its feathers. 

They use their beak to pick and eat fruit. They nest in the hollows of trees often abandoned by woodpeckers.

Several will live together in these hollows and they will lay their egg here, around 2-4 a year. They can live in different habitat types.


7. Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Where they are found: This bird is found in North America, including ranges of Canada, Alaska, USA, and N. Mexico.

Beak length: It has a powerful yellow beak to shred meat with.

Diet: Fish is the main source of food for bald eagles, but they still eat a variety of other birds and animals. This can include waterfowl and even small mammals like squirrels, raccoons, prairie dogs, and rabbits.


Detailed bird description:

The bald eagle stands for courage, strength, and freedom. No wonder it is part of the USA national emblem.

They have a brown body with a white head and tail and that powerful yellow hooked beak. Their feet are the same yellow.

Baby bald eagles look different; they are almost entirely brown, but as they get older, the bill turns yellow and the head and tail turn white.

See Also: Amazing Fun Facts About Eagles


8. Lesser Flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ-_Eq22OwM

Where they are found: They inhabit coastal and inland wetlands of sub-Saharan Africa and India.

Beak length: The total length from beak to tail is from 90 to 105 cm or 35-41 inches.

Diet: They eat mostly eat blue-green algae. Occasionally they will eat small insects and crustaceans. 


Detailed bird description:

These birds don’t migrate. They live in big colonies; sometimes more than a million birds will gather. They are active more at night time.

You will see them flying between water bodies in magnificent V-shaped formations.

They don’t have much sense of smell or taste, so they use their eyesight.

A pair will remain together while they produce their young, breeding in colonies.

The female lays one egg. The baby gets fed “crop milk”. This is a substance that comes from the parent’s upper digestive tract.

At 6-days old, the chicks join a crèche with thousands of other little chicks. They recognize their parents by the sounds they make.


9. Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Where they are found: They are widely distributed along the shore and inland of Australia, Fiji, and New Guinea. You can occasionally see them in New Zealand and Indonesia.

Beak length: 50 cm.

Diet: They eat mainly fish. They will also eat other animals living in the water like turtles, other water birds, and crustaceans. 


Detailed bird description:

There are 7 species of pelican all over the world; they’re all very similar, being primarily white in color.

The most characteristic feature of pelicans is its huge elongated bill with its massive throat pouch.

Look around and you won’t find another bird on the planet with a large beak.

Pelicans have large wings. Even though it’s a huge bird, it can fly easily because it is actually very light, weighing only 10% of its body weight.

They live and breed at any time of the year in large colonies. They prepare a nest of grass, twigs, and feathers.

Pelicans perform a courting dance where males try and win over the female. The winning male and female go to the nest site where the female will lay 1-3 eggs in the nest.

Baby pelicans are blind and featherless. After a month the chicks already leave the nest although the adults will still care for them until they learn to fly.


10. Woodpecker (Picidae)

Where they are found: They are found worldwide, except for Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Madagascar, and the extreme Polar Regions.

Beak length: The full length of the beak is about 4 cm.

Diet: Woodpeckers dine mostly on insects, but will also eat acorns, nuts, fruit, sap, berries and pine seeds. How they adore suet!


Detailed bird description:

A really interesting bird, there are over 200 species of woodpecker. They live in forests but anywhere where there are trees. Some species are endangered.

Large woodpeckers can reach 20 inches in length and the smallest 3-4 inches in length.

They are usually red, black, white, and yellow in color but other colors can also be seen in their plumage.

They have a very long tongue designed for capturing their prey.

This chisel-like beak is used for drilling holes in trees for looking for food or when preparing the nest in the mating season.

They can peck 20 times a second! Feathers on their nostrils prevent wood particles from being inhaled.

They build their nests in the tree all year round. They have one mate for a lifetime with the female laying between 2-5 eggs.


11. Sword-Billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera)

Where they are found: They are to be found in Andean South America – from Venezuela and Colombia in the north to Bolivia in the south. 

Beak length: More than 8 cm or 4 inches in length.  

Diet: It feeds mainly on nectar from flowers. It’s a very elongated bill and its long tongue allows it to visit flowers that have long pendent corollas.

It will hover while licking at the nectar. Sometimes it will perch below the flowers while feeding. It especially favors Datura and Passiflora flowers.


Detailed bird description:

This hummingbird species averages 14 cm or 5.5 inches in length, excluding its bill.

It really has a long beak, setting it apart from other birds. Look at it – doesn’t it look just like a sword?

This allows the birds to feed on flowers that have long corollas.

Their upper plumage is glittery green in color, the lower plumage lighter in the male bird.

These are solitary birds and they neither live in flocks nor migrate.

Males court the females by flying in a u-shape pattern in front of them but they separate immediately after copulation.


12. Keel-Billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus)

Where they are found: It can be found from Southern Mexico to Venezuela and Colombia.

Beak length: About 12.7-20 cm or 5-7.9 inches long. 

Diet: It consists mostly of a wide range of fruit, but may also include insects, eggs, lizards, and nestlings. Because of its beak, it can reach a large variety of fruit that might not otherwise have been reached. 


Detailed bird description:

Even though the beak looks heavy, it is quite light, hollow, and made from protein keratin. Its tongue looks a bit like a feather that it uses to catch food and then flick it down its throat.

The beak is a beautiful green except for an orange patch found on each side.

When they sleep, they turn their head so the long bills rest on their backs with the tail folded over the head.

Sometimes 5-6 adults will sleep in a hole in a tree.

In some religions of South and Central American, a father of a new baby child must not eat toucan flesh.

It is said to bewitch the newborn, causing it to fade away.

This bird doesn’t fly well, moving from tree to tree by hopping. In courtship, the toucans use their large bills to ‘duel’ playfully with each other or throw fruit into each other’s mouths.

They are highly sociable and not ever really seen alone, living in small flocks of around 6-12, sometimes more. They spend their days foraging for food.

o   The female lays around 1-4 eggs. Both parents share in the caring of the eggs and both take turns to feed the chicks.


13. American Avocet (Recurvirostra Americana)

Where they are found: They were previously found across most of the United States until eradicated from the East Coast.

Their breeding habitat consists of marshes, beaches, prairie ponds, and shallow lakes in the mid-west, as far north as southern Canada.

Beak length: The bill is black, pointed, and curved slightly upwards towards the tip. It is long, certain twice as long as its small head.

Diet: It eats mainly insects and small crustaceans. Sometimes it eats seeds and small fish.


Detailed bird description:

This is a large shorebird. It has beautiful black and white patterns on its back and that very long and thin upward curved beak.

When they are breeding, the adults have orangey plumage on their heads and necks, but other times their heads and necks are grey to white.

They like shallow freshwater ponds and wetlands. They forage by sweeping their beaks from side to side.

o   Males and females build the nest and the female will lay around 4 eggs which the male helps to incubate.

Sometimes another female will come and lay her own eggs in the same nest.

They are not always a success though. The chicks are known to leave the nest already within an hour or two of hatching.

When they are nesting the Avocets will attack predators to protect their nest.


14. Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis)

Where they are found: In the forests of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Mainland Southeast Asia, north-eastern regions of Indian, and Sumatra. The distribution over the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia is fragmented, however.

Beak length: The most prominent feature of the hornbill is the bright yellow and black casque on top of its massive bill

Diet: Hornbills are omnivorous birds, eating fruit, small animals, and insects. They can’t swallow food that they catch at the tip of their beaks as their tongues are too short to manipulate it – they toss it back with a jerk of the head. 


Detailed description:

That’s the first thing you notice about this bird is the yellow casque or horn on top of its head.

Immature hornbills only start developing this casque at 6 months of age.

It takes about 5 years for the casque to develop into the prominent structure it is.

The birds stand 2½ feet tall. It has a black band across its tail which is mostly white with black feathers around its face.

You can tell the difference between males and females by the iris of the eye. In the female it is white, but the iris of the male is red.

They have a loud call which is a good way of communicating in the forest. They are quite social although they don’t live in big flocks.

They keep their same mate. During the mating season, the males sometimes engage in head to head “casque-butting”, even in the air, to win a female.

They are territorial, and the female will lay 2 eggs. Usually, only one chick hatches from the clutch.

Some say the great hornbill has never been seen to drink water.


15. Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja)

Where they are found: They are found along the coasts of Texas, southern Florida, Louisiana, as well as the tropics and in Central and South America.

Beak length: 15–18 cm.  

Diet: Mostly small fish, aquatic invertebrates, shrimp, crabs, crayfish, aquatic insects (especially beetles), slugs, and mollusks. They also eat plant material which includes roots and the stems of sedges.


Detailed bird description:

The most prominent feature of this bird is the long spoon-shaped bill. Its head is white as well as its chest with light pink wings with very long pink legs.

Both males and females have the same plumage and coloring.  It is nicknamed the “Flame Bird”.

They like to forage in marine, fresh and brackish waters and forested swamps and wetlands. They nest and roost in shrubs and trees along the water’s edge.

Males and females build the next together with the female laying 2-4 eggs – they both incubate the eggs.

The babies don’t reach maturity until they are around 3 years old.


16. Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus)

Where they are found: They live on the Caribbean slopes, western Ecuador to southern Mexico. They are also found on the Pacific slopes of Costa Rica.

It is uncommonly found in the northwest, becoming more common in the western part of Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula.

Beak length: 4 inches.

Diet: It enjoys fruit from the ficus and palm trees particularly. It also eats large insects and small vertebrates, including nestlings of other birds and eggs. 


Detailed bird description:

The most unique physical characteristic of this bird is its incredible beak, almost a quarter of its entire body.

Their bodies consist of an array of bright colors, like a rainbow of red, green and yellow feathers.

Red and blue plumage surrounds their eyes. They are highly sociable and found in small flocks.

The young will also be fed by a group of adults, not just by the parents from the clutch of white eggs.


17. American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Where they are found: It breeds in the interior of North America, moving south and to the coasts, as far as South American and Central America in the winter.

Beak length: 290-390 mm or 11.3–15.2 inches.

Diet: Fish, and occasionally crayfish and salamanders.


Detailed bird description:

This is one of America’s largest birds. They soar gracefully on broad white wings – tipped black. They have large heads and huge bills making them look almost prehistoric.

They scoop up fish with the pouched bills. They spend their time at inland lakes in summer and near coastlines in winter.

Being so big, they can easily overheat in the hot sun, but they shed heat by facing away from the sun and fluttering their bill pouches.

Sometimes the incubating parents stretch their wings wide to help with cooling.

The nest is usually in the ground consisting of sticks and reeds. 2-3 Eggs are incubated, sometimes up to 6.

Both parents incubate the eggs and after around 3-4 weeks, the young go to a crèche or a pod where they learn to fly.

American White Pelicans must provide roughly 150 pounds of food to feed their chick from its birth to the time it’s ready to forage on its own.


18. Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)

Where they are found: Strictly along the coast in most areas of North America.

Beak length: They have a bright red-orange bill with a black tip. The lower mandible is longer than the upper mandible by 2 to 3 cm.

Diet: Primarily small fish such as minnows, herring, and killifish. Sometimes crustaceans and shrimp will make up the remainder of the diet.

See Also: Weird Birds: 13 of the Weirdest Birds Ever


Detailed bird description:

The black skimmer has a black back and head, with a white underside. The wings are black on top with white underneath. They have red legs, a red beak with a black tip. These birds have a light and graceful flight

The top half of the beak is longer than the bottom half.  They used to be known as “scissor bills” because their beaks open very wide.

Adults in the breeding season have a black crown, upper body, and nape.

The tail is dark grey and white-edged. The non-breeding adults have paler and browner upper-parts.

They breed in loose groups on sandy beaches and sandbanks. The female lays 3-7 eggs, and both the male and female incubate the eggs.


19. Long-Billed Curlew (Numenius americanus)

Where they are found: Found in North America

Beak length: 50-65 cm, or 19.7-25.6 inches.

Diet: It eats grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles. It may also eat small amphibians. In winter, it also eats small crustaceans, mollusks, seeds, and berries.


Detailed bird description:

This bird is the largest shorebird in North American, measuring 26 inches in length.

Its wings are speckled brown with a light chest and head. It has a very long curved bill. Both males and females look the same.

The females lay 4 eggs in the nest on the ground near shrubs and rocks.

Both parents incubate them. The adults defend the eggs by pretending to be inured, leading the predator away.

Both parents look after the chicks, but after 3 weeks the female leaves and the male cares for chicks until they are fledged at 32-45 days old.


20. Southern Yellow-Billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas)

Where they are found: Southern Africa.

Beak length: Characterized by a long yellow beak with a casque (a large display growth on the upper bill) (this is reduced in the female). 

Diet: It is mainly an omnivorous ground feeder, eating small insects, and spiders. Occasionally it eats seeds and fruit.

They are also known to forage along with dwarf mongoose, catching prey items that the mongooses scratch up from the ground.


Detailed bird description:

The beak is huge in comparison to its body and can account for up to 1/6th of the entire body length. The males’ beaks measure around 90 mm long and the females’ beak measures around 74 mm.

The casque is of modest size. But it covers almost the entire length of the beak in males and less so in the females.

The size of the beak actually intrudes on the front vision of the bird.

This bird was made famous by the movie, The Lion King, where it portrayed the character called Zazu.

They have interesting breeding behavior. They are monogamous and will live in small family groups or breeding pairs.

When they begin their courtship, the male feeds the female for up to a month. He brings her small bits of food in his mouth. Once they mate, the pair will look for a tree that usually faces the northeast.

They will use a whole lot of leaf litter and tree bark as nesting materials. When this nest is read, the female enters and then closes the entrance with her faces.

She will leave a small slit in the entrance so that the male can feed her while she incubates her eggs.

See Also: Bird Tongue Facts We Bet You Don’t Already Know!