Birds don’t have teeth to chew with.  They grind their food up in their gizzards.  If you own a pet canary or live near a chicken farm then you may already know that birds have a very strange way of chewing their food.

Birds must swallow their food whole because they have no teeth to chew with.


Instead, the work of “chewing” is done by the gizzard, a special part of the bird’s stomach that grinds the food up.

Some birds that eat seeds and other hard food swallow small stones and gravel.  These pass into the gizzard with the food.  The strong muscles of the gizzard grind the gravel and food together.

The stones and gravel crush the hard seeds and help the bird digest the food.

It is sometimes easy to tell the kind of food a bird eats by the shape of its bill.  They chisel bill of the woodpecker is used to dig insects out of wood.  The long, spear-like bill of the heron is ideal for jabbing fish and frogs.

Finches an cardinals have short, strong bills for cracking hard shells of seeds.  And a hawk has a sharp hooked bill that is good for tearing apart the animals it catches for food. – Dick Rogers