Animals Wildlife Photo: Family Meal, Flamingo-Style By Melissa Breyer Editorial Director Hunter College F.I.T., State University of New York Cornell University Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others. our editorial process Melissa Breyer Updated April 12, 2019 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Animals Wildlife Pets Animal Rights Endangered Species credit: macadmer/Flickr Our photo of the day shows how to make an awkward bill look like a thing of grace. Flamingos are exotic, there's no two ways about it – and many a lawn ornament can attest to their popularity. But most of us are likely pretty accustomed to just how strange they are. Take for instance, their bills. They look like ... flamingo bills! But they don't look a lot like the bills of other birds – as can be seen in this wonderful photo by macadamer – and there's a good reason. Flamingos are filter feeders, and because of that they feed more like whales and oysters than most other birds. Except, upside down, of course. As Stanford University explains: "Flamingos feed with their heads down, and their bills are adapted accordingly. In most birds a smaller lower beak works against a larger upper one. In flamingos this is reversed; the lower bill is much larger and stronger, and the fat tongue runs within the bill's deep central groove. To complete the jaw reversal, unlike other birds (and mammals) the upper jaw is not rigidly fixed to the skull. Consequently, with the bird's head upside down during feeding the upper bill moves up and down, permitting the flamingo's jaws to work 'normally.'" Would you like to see your nature photo featured as the TreeHugger photo of the day? Join TreeHugger’s Reader Photo Pool on flickr and add your pictures to the group.