A Comparison of Bird Beaks and Bills

Taken from: Birds of Yosemite National Park (1954, 1963) by Cyril A. Stebbins and Robert C. Stebbins

Grebes: Order Podicipediformes

  1. Grebes: Family Podicipedidae—Western Grebe

Pelican-like birds: Order Pelecaniformes

  2. Pelicans: Family Pelecanidae—White pelican (Foot as in figure 3)

  3. Cormorants: Family Phalacrocoracidae—Double-crested cormorant

Stork-like birds: Order Ciconiiformes

  4. Herons and Bitterns: Family Ardeidae— Green heron (note comb on middle toenail)

Goose-like birds: Order Anseriformes

  5. Ducks, Geese, and Swans: Family Anatidae—Bufflehead

Hawk-like birds: Order Falconiformes

  6. American Vultures: Family Cathartidae—Turkey vulture

  7. Kites, Hawks, and Eagles: Family Accipitridae—Red-tailed hawk

Fowl-like birds: Order Galliformes

  8. Quail and Pheasants: Family Phasianidae—Gambel’S quail

Crane-like birds: Order Gruiformes

  9. Rails: Family Rallidae—American coot

Plover-like birds: Order Charadriiformes

  10. Plovers: Family Charadriidae—Killdeer

  11. Snipe, Sandpipers, etc.: Family Scolopacidae—Least sandpiper

  12. Avocets and Stilts: Family Recurvirostiudae—American avocet

  13. Phalaropes: Family Phalaropodidae—Northern phalarope

  14. Gulls and Terns: Family Laridae—Ring-billed gull (immature)

Pigeon-like birds: Order Columbiformes

  15. Pigeons and Doves: Family Columbidae—Mourning dove

Cuckoo-like birds: Order Cuculiformes

  16. Cuckoos, Roadrunners, etc.: Family Cuculidae—Roadrunner

Owls: Order Strigiformes

  17. Barn Owls: Family Tytonidae—Barn owl (Note comb on front toenail)

  18. Typical Owls: Family Strigidae—Screech owl (Foot similar to Tytonidae but no comb on nail)

Goatsucker-like birds: Order Caprimulgiformes

  19. Goatsuckers: Family Caprimulgidae—Common nighthawk (Note comb on middle toenail)

Swifts and Hummingbirds: Order Apodiformes

  20. Swifts: Family Apodidae—Vaux’s swift (Note bare spine-like shafts of tips of tail feathers)

  21. Hummingbirds: Family Trochilidae—Allen’s Hummingbird (female)

Roller-like birds: Order Coraciiformes

  22. Kingfishers: Family Alcedinidae—Belted kingfisher

Woodpecker-like birds: Order Piciformes

  23. Woodpeckers: Family Picidae—Yellow-bellied sapsucker (Note the zygodactyl foot—two toes in front, two behind)

Perching birds: Order Passeriformes

  24.1 Tyrant Flycatchers: Family Tyrannidae—Say’s phoebe

  25. Larks: Family Alaudidae—Horned lark

  26. Swallows: Family Hirundinidae—Violet-green swallow

  27. Jays, Magpies, and Crows: Family Corvidae—Scrub jay

Perching birds: Order Passeriformes (Cont’d.)

  28.2 Tits: Family Paridae—Plain titmouse

  29.2 Nuthatches: Family Sittidae—White-breasted nuthatch

  30.2 Creepers: Family Certhrdae—Brown creeper (The tail feathers are stiffened and pointed)

  31.2 Wrentits: Family Chamaeidae—Wrentit

  32.2 Dippers: Family Cinclidae—Dipper

  33.2 Wrens: Family Troglodytidae—Bewick’s wren

  34.2 Mockingbirds and Thrashers: Family Mimidae—California thrasher

  35. Thrushes: Family Turdidae—Hermit thrush

  36.2 Old-World Warblers, Gnatcatchers. Kinglets: Family Sylviidae—Golden-crowned kinglet

  37. Wagtails: Family Motacillidae—Water pipit

  38.2 Waxwings: Family Bombycillidae—Cedar waxwing

  [--. Silky Flycatchers: Family Ptilogonatidae]

  39.2 Shrikes: Family Laniidae—Loggerhead shrike

  40.2 Vireos: Family Vireonidae—Solitary vireo

  41.2 Wood Warblers: Family Parulidae—Yellow-throat

  42.2 Weaver Finches: Family Ploceidae—-House sparrow

  43.2 Orioles and Blackbirds: Family Icteridae—Scott’s oriole

  44.2 Tanagers: Family Thraupidae—Western tanager

  45.2 Finches, Sparrows, etc.: Family Fringillidae—White-crowned sparrow

1) The species representing these families have a foot structure similar to that shown in figure 27.

2) The species representing these families have a foot structure similar to that shown in figure 35.