The truth that birds do not have teeth is partially available.

Few species of birds developed mandibles edges cuts, called tomia, which are structural alterations that allow birds to manage their nourishment (hunt, break prey, crack seeds, and so on).

Except for most species of falcons, which have their tomial tooth covered by bone, the tomial teeth of other species (such as shrikes) are only made of keratin.

To some birds that feed on fish, tomia have developed in little fangs similar to saw so that the bird can hold the wet prey.

So, some birds species do have teeth, apparently, and in this article, I invite you to read about them and even see their “grin”; I will start with the most common and end with the most spectacular ones, so fasten your curiosity belts.

Seven Birds With Teeth

Greylag Goose

Greylag Goose
Credit: @mattmcphotography

The Greylag Goose (Anser Anser after its scientific Latin name) is a large goose with a speckled and streaky grey and white plumage, pink legs, and an orange beak with tomial teeth similar to the saw.

When it comes to distribution and habitat, Greylag Goose is widespread; the bird lives near lakes, marshes, wetlands, and urban parks of Europe and Asia, migrating in southern regions in wintertime and returning to its breeding areas in the summertime.

The Greylag Goose feeds on the grass in summertime (sea clubrush, duckweed, floating sweetgrass), root crops, leaves, and grains in the wintertime (wheat, oats, barley, peas, root crops, etc.).

The bird has been observed feeding itself on potatoes, acorns, growing crops (especially at night), and even small amphibians, crustaceans, fish, and insects.

The Greylag Goose tend to form monogamous lifetime partnerships (only 5 to 8% of geese change their partner) and have a flexible sexual orientation.

Yes, Greylag Goose forms both heterosexual and homosexual couples, and both types of pairs engage in wooing and sexual behavior.

If in heterosexual couples, some partners might have promiscuous behavior despite the disapproval of their mates, homosexual couples have been observed to have a closer bond.

Greylag Goose lays approximately 4-6 eggs (it is not unusual to be more or less) in a nest made on the ground (in shrubs, reeds, rushes) or on floating vegetation, out of reeds, heather twigs, grasses, moss, and small feathers on the bottom.

Common Merganser

Common Merganser
Credit: @seashaz

Common Merganser (or Mergus merganser) is a large seaduck, with few longer feathers on the crest, which lay behind the head smoothly, and two types of plumage, depending on the breeding season.

Both sexes are mainly grey, with brown-reddish head, white chin, and white secondary feathers on the wings in the non-breeding season, the so-called eclipse, which lasts between July and October.

In the mating season, the male is white, with salmon-pink tints, black head with shimmering green shine, grey rump and tail, and black and white wings.

Common Merganser has pink legs and a beak with serrated tomias, like most piscivorous species, so similar to a chainsaw that these birds are often known as “sawbill”.

If you wish to see them live, know that Common Merganser lives in forested areas, on lakes and rivers from North America, Europe, and Asia.

As a piscivorous duck, Common Merganser has a menu formed out of fish mostly but “seasoned” with mollusks, crustaceans, worms, amphibians, insects larvae, and, sometimes, even other birds and small mammals.

To breed, Common Merganser prefers mature forests to find trees old enough so the bird can find cavities to make the nest.

However, when the requirement of a forest is not met, Common Merganser manages to breed also in holes in cliffs and holes from steep, high shores.

The female Common Merganser lays about 8, 12 eggs and takes the ducklings in its beak to the river immediately after hatching, so they feed on invertebrates and small fish.

Brazilian Merganser

Brazilian Merganser
Credit: @janharteman

Brazilian Merganser (or Mergus octosetaceus) is dark, slender diving duck with a shinny dark-green head and longer feathers behind the head, forming a crest that looks more worn-alike at females.

The plumage of Brazilian Merganser starts with dark grey on top of the body, decreases in light grey on sides, and goes up to white on the lower side of the body.

The bird has red legs and a black, jagged beak, with sharped tomial edges, looking like teeth.

Brazilian Merganser dives under the water’s surface to catch fish, mollusks, insects larvae, and small eels to feed.

Sadly, the population is less than 250 birds, found in Brazil (the most concentrated population being in the region of Serra de Canastra), and Argentina.

Brazilian Merganser prefers isolated mountain regions, where they live in the low density of the vegetation around the clean, fast-flowing rivers and streams.

The breeding season for Brazilian Merganser is believed to be during the austral winter when the rain levels are at a minimum and the waters levels are low.

When it finds a suitable place for nesting and feeding, Brazilian Merganser occupies territories permanently, within 8-17 km along the rivers, pairs building their nests in rock cracks, trees hollows, and abandoned burrows, created mainly by armadillos.

The female Brazilian Merganser lays 3-6 eggs in June and July, incubates alone, but both parents raise the ducklings (very unusual for ducks both parents to help raise younglings).

Did you know?

The first known bird, from which started the theory of birds being descendants of some dinosaurs species, was Archaeopteryx, also known as Urvogel (literally, the first bird, in German).

Although Archaeopteryx has been accepted as the oldest known bird (lived 150 million years ago) until the early 21st century, other avialans have been discovered that are believed to be older than Uvorgel.

Tooth-Billed Bowerbird

Tooth-Billed Bowerbird
Credit: @birdingtropicalaustralia

Tooth-billed Bowerbird (or Scenopoeetes dentirostris after its scientific Latin name) is a medium-sized sturdy bowerbird, with olive-brown upper plumage, striped brown and white below, grey legs, and distinctive beak, similar to teeth.

The Tooth-billed Bowerbird lives in mountain forests from the northeast of Queensland, Australia, as the bird is Australian-endemic.

Despite its scary teeth-like beak, the Tooth-billed Bowerbird is a herbivorous bird, feeding itself primarily with fruits and green leaves of the forest trees.

What is truly special about the Tooth-billed Bowerbird is the mating ritual, where the male builds a bower, clearing an area of forest floor from dry leaves and decorating it with fresh, green leaves.

The section must have at least one tree trunk on which the male can roost and call upon a mate, whistling, hissing, and squeaking.

The male spends hours beautifying the bower and around it with shells, flowers, feathers, stones, berries, coins, nails, and pieces of glass and or plastic.

Females searching for a partner visit multiple bowers, save the favorite ones, to which they return several times to inspect the quality of the pavilion and watch the male work.

Although research suggests that males adjust their performance after the female’s preferences and response, many underperforming males are left without a partner, females mating top-mating males and tending to return to them in the next season.

Double-Toothed Kite

Double-Toothed Kite
Credit: @joecr_1

Double-toothed Kite (Harpagus bidentatus) is a small-sized hawk, a raptor of dark grey color, with a white back patch visible in flight, making the bird one of the easiest to identify.

Chest and belly are brown-reddish, with white and grey stripes on the stomach and bluish-grey head.

The greenish-yellow cere continues with a blunt beak that ends with a black tip, and it’s double-toothed on the superior mandible, thus the bird’s name.

The Double-toothed Kite lives in low and middle-height forests and edges (humid lowland and montane forests) from the subtropical and tropical areas.

When it is not taking the prey flushed by the bigger mammals (the bird is known to follow some groups of monkeys), Double-toothed Kite perches above the rainforest floor and dives downwards fast to hunt insects and lizards, which represents its main dish.

With some slight variations, the breeding season of Double-toothed Kite is somewhere between early April and early July.

At the edge of the rainforest, on a fork-alike branch, high in the tree (3 to 30 meters), a pan-like shallow nest is made out of twigs in which the Double-toothed Kite female lays two eggs and incubates them.

Green Aracari

Green Aracari
Credit: @linnbmalmberg

Green Aracari ( or Pteroglossus viridis) is a small toucan (amongst the smallest from the family of Ramphastidae).

Except for the color of the head, which is black for males and dark reddish-brown for females, Green Aracari has dark green plumage on its back, yellow on its chest, and greenish legs.

The bird has a colorful beak (red, yellow, and blue) with serrated edges that look like teeth grown towards the tip of the beak.

Green Aracari lives in tropical forests from Brazil, French Guiana, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname.

The diet of Green Aracari is omnivorous, the bird feeding with fruits, nuts, eggs, insects, and small mammals; they are even known to be fed cooked sweet potatoes in the National Zoo of Washington D.C.

The Green Aracari is another species that prefer to search for other birds’ deserted nests instead of building its own nest (usually, woodpecker holes due to their high position in the tree).

The mating season lasts from February till June, the Green Acari female lays 2-4 eggs, and both parents participate in younglings raising.

Although the younglings can fly at about five weeks after hatching, the parents feed them up to 8 weeks.

Keel-Billed Toucan

Keel-Billed Toucan
Credit: @rainforest_photo_tours

Keel-billed Toucan (or Ramphastos sulfuratus, after its scientific Latin name), also known as “rainbow” toucans, is a bird with a small body, beak alone being ⅓ from the birds’ length.

The Keel-billed Toucan’s plumage is dark, with a bright yellow stain on the chest, it has greenish skin around the eyes, and the blue feet have two toes in front and two toes in the back, so the bird can catch itself easier on the rainforest trees branches.

The Keel-billed Toucan’s beak is jagged on the edges, and, although seemingly big and heavy, it is hollow and very agile.

The bird uses it in feeding and defending itself, dexterously swinging it and pecking with it.

Keel-billed Toucan lives in small families in the awnings of tropical, subtropical, and lowland rainforests of Colombia and from Southern Mexico to Venezuela.

The diet of Keel-billed Toucan is omnivorous; although the bird prefers fruits, it is also known to delight itself from time to time with insects, lizards, eggs, nestlings, and snakes.

The dexterous beak of Keel-billed Toucan helps it enjoy a large(r) variety of fruits, otherwise difficult to reach; the bird uses the beak to break the fruit and toss its head back to swallow it.

Keel-billed Toucan is a monogamous species, remaining with one partner during the season of mating and, in some cases, returning to the same partner in future seasons also.

The female Keel-billed Toucan lays between 1 and 4 eggs in an already existing tree cavity, and the parents share the incubating and caring for eggs and younglings.

When they hatch, the chicks have their eyes closed for about three weeks, they have no feathers, and the beak is under-developed.

Conclusion

Even though birds do not have real teeth, some species developed on the edges of the mandibles (tomia), some sharp cuts, teeth looking alike, called tomial teeth.

Tomial teeth are keratinous (except for the “tooth” of most species of falcons – they have it out of bone).

Depending on the birds’ environment and feeding habits, it has developed into ridges, a sharp projection along the upper mandible (which creates a tooth-like beak), and sawtooth serration.

Also Read:

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts