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Re: what are these

Posted by Michael L on 1/22/05
(2) Comments

    On 1/22/05, confused wrote:
    > What is a soft bill?

    This was taken from 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.

    Michael L