7 Birds With Big Mouths (Photos & Fun Facts)

Have you recently spotted a bird with big mouth, and want to know what species it was?

Well, look no further! Check out the list we put together of 7 birds with big mouths (or beaks).

Bird with big mouth

Let us know which one is your favorite and why in the comments below!

Birds With A Big Mouth


Photo of Potoo bird

Potoos (from the family Nyctibiidae), are a family of birds that are related to frogmouths and nightjars.

They are also known as “poor-me-ones” as they have calls that will chill you to the bone. These birds have massive mouths and look like something out of a comedy-horror. 

This big-mouthed bird can be found in a number of South American countries, specifically in the tropics.


Photo of Frogmouth bird with large open mouth

The bird group frogmouths (from the family Podargidae) are nocturnal birds related to nightjars and potoos.

The tawny frogmouth (Podargus Stigoides) is known to have the largest mouth of all the frogmouth birds. 

These birds are nocturnal, and as such, are primarily brown, gray, and black in color. They are primarily native to Australasian and the Indomalayan areas. 


Photo of American White Pelican

Everyone knows pelicans. These are large water birds that spend their days on the coast. They belong to the family Pelecanidae, and are known for their massive beaks, which they use to catch food.

Pelicans have huge throats pouches, which they use to catch and hold prey such as fish.

These birds typically have light plumage, and are typically white or a similar color. The only pelicans with vastly different plumage are that of the Peruvian and Brown pelicans.

However, no matter their species, all pelicans have large mouths and pouches to hold their catch.


Photo of Shoebill

Shoebills (Balaeniceps Rex) are large birds native to East Africa. They also go by the names “whalehead” “whale-headed stork” or “shoe-billed stork”. As their many names suggest, these birds have very large bills that resemble shoes. 

Because of this bird’s stork-like build, it has been placed in the order Ciconiiformes, which is where storks can also be found.

The shoebill is one bird that looks like it has come straight out of the prehistoric times, and looks like it should be a dinosaur. 

You might be glad to know that, despite their horrifying appearance, these birds are extremely docile towards humans. They have the habit of staring at people who come too close, but haven’t been known to be aggressive.

If you ever came across one of these birds, you can expect to hear them make a sound with their beak that sounds like a machine gun. 


Photo of Toucan

Toucans are another group of birds with famously large mouths, or beaks. Found in the family Ramphastidae, these birds are native to South America.

You will recognize a Toucan if you’ve ever seen one, since they are simply unmistakable. They have very large beaks (some are almost as long as their bodies), which are usually very colorful. 

The bodies of Toucans are usually black and white, but some can have beautiful greens, yellows and blues, too!

While some people may confuse Toucans with Hornbills (see below), these birds are distinctly different, and are found in different parts of the world. 


Photo of Hornbill

Hornbills are beautiful birds that can be found in various parts of the world, including Asia, Africa, and Melanesia. They are most famous for their beautiful big beaks, which are curved.

As part of the Bucerotidae, there are more than 70 different species you can find in the family. 

The largest and most impressive hornbill is known as the Great Hornbill (Buceros Bicornis). This bird can be found on the Indian subcontinent, as well as Southeast Asia.

These hornbills are nearly threatened, with an ever decreasing population in the wild. You would recognize this bird by its large, predominantly black body with white.

The most noticeable feature, however, is the giant, curved bill it has, which is bright yellow. 

Other popular hornbill birds include the African Yellow-Billed Hornbill, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill, and the Rufous-necked Hornbill.

While there are many types of hornbills, they are all unique and offer something incredible to look at. 

We would definitely recommend checking them out!

Marabou Stork

Photo of Marabou Stork

Finally, we have the Marabou Stork (Leptospirosi Cruciferari). If the scientific name is anything to go by, you know that this bird is terrifying.

With a wingspan of up to nine and a half feet, this is not a stork you should want to mess with. They are large wading birds, and are native to parts of Africa, including near the Sahara. 

These birds can often be found near landfill sites, ready to steal away scraps and trash. However, they are also known to eat carcasses if they can find them, and even feces.

Because of this, it is never recommended to eat the meat of these birds, since they are a health hazard. 

The huge sword-like bill of these birds is incredibly powerful, and certainly not something you want to be on the receiving end of. The Marabou Stork is deemed by many to be a scourge of Africa, as it is ill-tempered and dubbed the Undertaker Bird.

Sword-Billed Hummingbird

Photo of Sword-billed Hummingbird

Technically speaking, the Sword-Billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) has the biggest beak in relation to its body size in the world.

These birds, though pretty tiny, have bills longer than their bodies! Did you know that these birds have to groom themselves with their feet because their bills are so long? 

The great thing about this bird is that it can reach nectar that other birds simply can’t get to. So, despite having to perch with their head tilted up to even be able to balance, they don’t have to fight for their food. 

If you want to see these birds doing their thing in the wild, you will have to head to South America and try to catch a glimpse of one. Look out for green and black, since that’s what their plumage looks like!

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of birds with big mouths in the world! If we had to pick, the potoo, frogmouth, and pelican would have to take thcake for the winner. What do you think?