28 October 2021
Have you ever noticed that birds gulp their food? Of course they don’t chew — they don’t have teeth — but much of what they eat still has to be “chewed” before they can digest it.
That’s where grit comes in.
Birds chew with their gizzards, a specialized stomach with thick muscular walls that grind up food, often aided by particles of stone or grit.
Birds regularly eat grit to aid their digestion, as Ecco is doing in the photo below.
So when you see birds swallowing things whole rest assured they’re chewing inside … in the gizzard.
p.s. Other animals have gizzards too including crocodiles, alligators, mullet (a fish) and earthworms.
(photos from Steve Gosser, Wikimedia Commons, and the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)