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Feeding in Birds: Thriving in Terrestrial, Aquatic, and Aerial Niches

Rico-Guevara, Alejandro; Sustaita, Diego; Gussekloo, Sander; Olsen, Aaron; Bright, Jen; Corbin, Clay; Dudley, Robert


Alejandro Rico-Guevara

Diego Sustaita

Sander Gussekloo

Aaron Olsen

Clay Corbin

Robert Dudley


Vincent Bels

Ian Q. Whishaw


We start with a general description of the structure of the feeding apparatus in birds (Sect. 17.1), then we describe the biomechanics of those parts (Sect. 17.2), including a review of contemporary approaches to the study of bird feeding morphology and function. We establish explicit links between form and function, and consequent relations to foraging behaviors. In Sect. 17.3, we systematically explore the vast diversity of bird feeding environments by grouping foraging (searching) and feeding (handling—consumption) mechanisms that birds use on land, air, and water. Each one of these subsections addresses not only what birds eat, but also how they feed. We dedicate a separate Sect. (17.4) to drinking because most birds have to perform this process regardless of their diet, and often using different mechanisms than the ones they use to feed. We then discuss evolutionary forces and patterns in bird feeding (convergences, radiations, trade-offs, etc.), including functions different from handling and ingestion that also act to shape the feeding apparatus in birds (Sect. 17.5).


Rico-Guevara, A., Sustaita, D., Gussekloo, S., Olsen, A., Bright, J., Corbin, C., & Dudley, R. (2019). Feeding in Birds: Thriving in Terrestrial, Aquatic, and Aerial Niches. In V. Bels, & I. Q. Whishaw (Eds.), Feeding in Vertebrates (643-693). Cham: Springer.

Online Publication Date Apr 24, 2019
Publication Date 2019
Deposit Date Nov 28, 2019
Journal Feeding in Vertebrates; Fascinating Life Sciences
Print ISSN 2509-6745
Electronic ISSN 2509-6753
Publisher Springer
Pages 643-693
Series Title Fascinating Life Sciences
Book Title Feeding in Vertebrates
ISBN 9783030137380
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information First Online: 24 April 2019