The flamingo is well-known for its habit of eating with its head upside-down. This behaviour is largely due to the structure of its mouth and the logistics of lowering its long, graceful neck into the water

Flamingos are filter feeders, using their tongue as a sieve to catch food. It will put its neck down under the water with its mouth essentially upside, then close its mouth and force the water through comb-like extensions on its beak, using its tongue in order to push the water out while keeping all the food in.

Because the flamingo must use its beak in an upside-down manner, the beak has evolved to reflect this. The flamingo’s top beak functions like the bottom beak of most birds, and vice versa.

Flamingos are among the very few animals that are able to move their top jaw while eating.

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 22nd, 2021

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