Chan Yoke Meng’s image of a Pintail Snipe (Gallinago stenura) with its bill apart (below) provides a rare opportunity to view two uncommon features – part of the bird’s hyoid apparatus and rhynchokinesis.
According to field ornithologist Wang Luan Keng in an earlier post HERE: “Bird tongues are usually not muscular structures but operate by means of a bony extension that points backwards. This bony extension is referred to as the hyoid apparatus.”
In the image above, the actual tongue is lying close to the lower mandible. The bone supporting it extends back, rising somewhat, to descend and join the horns of the hyoid apparatus lodged in the skull.
The other feature, rhynchokinesis, is the ability of the tip of the upper mandible to be flexed upwards independent of the rest of the bill – see HERE.
Chan Yoke Meng & Melinda Chan
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