Pintail Snipe’s tongue and bill

posted in: Morphology-Develop. | 0

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
January 2015

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Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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