The beak, bill, and/or rostrum is an external anatomical structure found mostly in birds, but also in turtles, non-avian dinosaurs, and a few mammals. A beak is used for eating, preening, manipulating objects, killing prey, fighting, probing for food, courtship, and feeding young. The terms beak and rostrum are also used to refer to a similar mouth part in some ornithischians, pterosaurs, cetaceans, dicynodonts, anuran tadpoles, monotremes (i.e. echidnas and platypuses, which have a beak-like structure), sirens, pufferfish, billfishes and cephalopods.
Although beaks vary significantly in size, shape, color and texture, they share a similar underlying structure. Two bony projections – the upper and lower mandibles – are covered with a thin keratinized layer of epidermis known as the rhamphotheca. In most species, two holes called nares lead to the respiratory system.