A detailed evaluation of the skeletal elements of the skull in the grey heron (Ardea cinerea)
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This study was designed to reveal, in detail, the features of the skull bones in the grey heron, a species of the family Ardeidae, and to compare the findings with previous related literature reports and with Nomina Anatomica Avium. The articulation between the nasal and frontal bones was observed to be through the movable frontonasal joint. The upper beak fused with the neurocranium via this joint and with the palatine and vomer. It was also bound indirectly through the zygomatic bone articulating with the quadrate bone. The frontal bone possessed the frontal depression dorsally. Wideness of the frontal bone and supranasal pila seemed to be unique for the grey heron. The quadrate bone was observed to play a primary role in the beak action. No medial process was present in the mandible. Overall, the results hereby indicate that the wider jaw opening and sharp and pointed nature of the beaks in the grey heron enable it to feed on such creatures as fish, frogs, and crustaceans.