Learn about bird and beaks

Plants and animals have evolved together through complex relationships. For example, species develop special features to help them survive in certain places and eat certain food. This is called adaptation.

Many seabirds have adapted to be excellent at diving into the sea to catch fish and wading birds have long beaks to help them dig in the sand. Similarly, their food might evolve in ways to escape being eaten, such as using camouflage to blend into their surroundings! Learning about these adaptations gives a greater insight into the history of the interconnections in nature.

What you will need:

  • Print out of the worksheet attached
  • Straws
  • Tweezers
  • Clothes pegs
  • Different size ‘bird food’ such as raisins and rice

Learn about different beaks:

Worksheet Activity – match the birds to the beaks:

  1. Print out the worksheet attached at the bottom of this page.
  2. Ask the children to match the bird with the adaptation of having a long or short beak to learn about how their beak helps them.
  3. After discussing the benefits of long and short beaks, prompt the children to imagine what ways the fish and insects could change to make it harder for the birds to catch them!

Practical Activity – become a bird with different beaks:

  1. Collect the different types of ‘bird food’ you want to collect. It’s good to have a range of shapes and sizes that can represent different types of food, such as fish or insects.
  2. Using the different ‘bird beaks’ (spoons, straws, tweezers, and clothes pegs), you can experiment being different birds.
  3. First, put one type of food in the middle of the group, whilst everyone has different types of beaks. Set 30 seconds on a timer, and see how much food each beak can collect in that time. Swap the food in the middle and repeat.
  4. As you go through the different foods, are there some ‘beaks’ that are better than others for picking up certain foods? Which ones were the best and which ones struggled? Isn’t it clever that bird’s beaks are suited to their favourite foods!

Time to complete

15-30 minutes

Suitable for age

Suitable location

Resource Level

Curriculum linked

Sciences (Ecology, biology, natural history)


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