Birdwatchers rely on the color and shape of bird beaks as one key to identification. For many types of birds worldwide, a yellow beak is a prominent feature that distinguishes genders, subspecies and adults from juveniles. Toucans, blackbirds, gulls and mynas are among common bird species characterized by bright yellow beaks.
What Types of Birds Have Yellow Beaks?
Originally found in South American rain forests, the toucan is recognized around the world by its black and white plumage and enormous yellow-orange beak. The beak, which can reach up to 7.5 inches in length, consists of hollow cartilage and occurs in both males and females.
The adult male blackbird, found all over Europe as well as in Asia and Africa, is easily recognized by shiny black plumage and a bright yellow eye ring and beak. Although female blackbirds share the characteristic yellow eye ring, they have brown feathers and a darker, brownish beak.
Many types of gulls, such as the common gull, the herring gull and the kittiwake, have yellow beaks. Found worldwide, these marine birds favor rocky shoreline areas, although some prefer to live inland for part of the year. The yellow beak and black, gray and white feathers characterize both males and females of this species.
The common myna, often called the "talking myna" for its ability to mimic human speech, originates in Asia but has been introduced in other parts of the world, particularly Hawaii and Florida. The myna's yellow beak and bright yellow legs contrast with its brownish plumage, found on both males and females.
Baby birds of many species have yellow beaks, characterized by large "lips" at the corners of the mouth. In species not characterized by yellow beaks in adulthood, however, these juvenile beaks turn dark and the "lips" disappear as the bird matures into adult coloration.