On 1/22/05, confused wrote:
> What is a soft bill?
This was taken from softbills.com/ It should answer your
"Softbill" is a general term used by aviculturists to
describe a wide range of small, flying birds. They do not
actually have soft beaks, but merely live on soft foods like
fruit, nectar or insects; as opposed to "hardbills", such as
parrots and finches, that live mainly on seeds and nuts.
Many softbills eat more than 1 food type, and some, like
magpies and jays, will include tiny birds and amphibians in
their diet. In spite of their often varied tastes, softbills
can be divided into 4 distinct dietary categories:
Omnivore --- most foods are eaten;
Insectivore --- mainly insects are eaten;
Frugivore --- mainly fruits are eaten;
Nectivore --- mainly nectar is eaten.
To every rule there are exceptions, and the definition of a
softbill is no different. Lories and lorikeets are birds
that live on nectar and fruits, but are actually classified
as parrots. And some of the falconets with their purely
insectivorous lifestyles could be called softbills, but
instead are birds of prey.
The definition of a softbill is a somewhat subjective one,
and it depends on avicultural instinct as much as any hard
and fast rules; but generally: softbills are small, flying
birds that do not live on seed, but at least one of the
following: fruit, insects, nectar or meat.