The point of anything ; the bill of a bird. The beak is a conspicuous feature in all birds, and consists of an upper and lower half. The upper half is commonly articulated with the skull in a more or less immovable manner. The parrot possesses this feature in its greatest perfection, but it exists in a less complete form in many birds. In no recent birds are teeth ever developed, though rudiments of teeth have been recognized in some parrots, and fossil birds have been found with well-developed teeth. The beak of each bird is beautifully adapted to its habits. Beaks of land-birds are hard and horny - in the woodpecker like ivory. In many water-birds the beak is rather of a leathery texture. The beaks of birds of prey which feed on flesh are strong, hooked, and pointed, those of herons and storks, which feed on fish, are long, pointed, and sharp; the beak of the parrot, which feeds on nuts, is adapted to crushing the shell and picking out the kernel; the beak of the duck is flat and broad, with comb-like fringes on the upper jaw which fit into the lower jaw. In the puffin and similar birds part or the whole of the horny sheath is annually shed.

Beak 18