View Single Post
Old 08-21-19, 01:33 PM
  #104  
seypat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,311
Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1108 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 167 Times in 125 Posts
Originally Posted by badger1 View Post
The question as to the relative merits of disc beakes vs. pointy beakes is best answered by comparing two representative species: the spoonbill stork (disc beake) and the heron (pointy beake). In each case the beake performs the same primary function: food gathering.

The question is: which is more efficient? Will spoonbills eventually abandon their disc beakes in favour of pointy beakes, or will a bird like the Blue Heron eventually adopt disc beakes? Of course we won't know the answer for millenia, but a significant question it remains.

The spoonbill stork (genus platalea; various species), as we all know, has a beake that is well adapted to performing well in wet conditions (shallow, muddy waters), where it uses its 'spoon' first to muddy the waters, so to speak, and then to filter out, trap, and consume the tiny creatures it stirs up.

Now, the great blue heron (Ardea herodias) is of course a bird of a very different feather. Its primary diet consists of fish, frogs, small mammals and the like which it commonly spears with its pointy beake and then swallows.

What, then, can we infer from the rather obvious continued survival of the two about the relative merits of disc vs. pointy beakes? Well, it is not unreasonable to suggest that each is well-adapted to its primary function: to obtain food.

That said, ornithological debates on interwebz discussion forums suggests that enthusiasts will not rest content until one side or the other 'winz', with either Disc Beakeists or Pointy Beakeists emerging triumphant.
Winner!
seypat is offline