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Beak Attack

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Beak Attack is when birds and other avian creatures use their beak as weapon for massive damage.

It does not include anytime a bird uses its beak; here, this nasty beakering needs to hurt very bad, even if it has to be over the top. Expect people being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice, and the beak somehow acting like a drill or a jackhammer. In Video Games, the bird enemies will often dive at the player beak first, sometimes even being Left Stuck After Attack, helplessly pinned into the ground.

Even though it is largely exaggerated, there is still some Truth in Television behind it. One of the main inspiration behind this trope and its derivatives is the woodpecker, which is able to peck 20 times per second, producing about 10,000 pecks per day, and being able to dig through hard wood to find their prey.

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The most likely birds associated to this trope are those with long chiseling bills like the aforementioned woodpecker, cranes, or storks, the long beak even acting like a Sinister Schnoz in case of a villainous bird. When they are small, they could swoon in swarm, acting like a living Flechette Storm. Birds of prey (good or bad) also often use their sharp curvy beak as weapon (which is for once rather accurate). A less common — and more comedic — variant is the use of a large beak (like the one of a toucan) as a literal hammer. Pelicans, despite being quite a deadly hunter, are usually not depicted as offensive in fiction, dedicating their beaks to hide and carry stuff. Expect ornithologists to cry when seeing this trope, especially when it is used by birds not normally able to pecker.

The trope also applies to non-bird beaked creatures like pterosaurs (a.k.a. "pterodactyls") and cephalopods, even though it rarely happens for the latter, as they tend to rely more on their Combat Tentacles (at least in fiction).

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Sub-Trope of Natural Weapon. Compare other attacks with body parts such as Horn Attack and Power Pincers, and other avian attacks such as Feathered Fiend, Razor Wings, Feather Flechettes, Absurdly Sharp Claws, and Toothy Bird (who tends to appropriately bite more than it peckers).


Examples:

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    Fan Works 
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Being a griffon, Wind Breaker uses his beak as one of his close-range weapons when he can't rely on his crossbow. He even took out a foe's eye with it.

    Film - Animated 

  • The Big Bad of Quest for Camelot uses an evil potion to transform a barnyard rooster into Bladebeak, an armored avian with an axeblade for a beak. Subverted though, despite Taking a Level in Badass, Bladebeak remains inept and incompetent Comic Relief.
  • The green toucan in The Angry Birds Movie unfortunately misses his target (because of his own boomerang effect), but literally pierces through an entire tree on his way back with his large beak. Outside of that, the movie and original game mostly avert the use of this trope.
  • In Despicable Me 2, Gru and Lucy sneak into Eduardo's restaurant looking for evidence that he's master criminal El Macho. Once inside they are met with Eduardo's guard... chicken, who ferociously pecks at Gru's head.

    Films - Live Action 

  • Non-bird variant—in Jurassic World, there is a scene where the saurian Big Bad releases a swarm of highly territorial Pteranodons and scares them into a panicked frenzy, prompting them to descend upon the titular park's most populated area. Throughout the scene that follows, the pterosaurs can be seen pinning people down and pecking at them with their enormous beaks. Before that, one of them kills a hapless security guard by stabbing him in the chest with its beak.
  • Rodan, as your standard Ptero Soarer kaiju, has a beak and often uses it to attack, even crushing giant boulders with it in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 

  • In Ultraman Taro, the kaiju Birdon brutally stabs the eponymous Ultraman, as well as Zoffy, to death with its massive beak (don't worry, they get better). When Birdon returns in Ultraman Mebius, the beak is upgraded to being poisonous.

    Religion / Mythology 

  • In Greek mythology, Prometheus' punishment for bringing fire to mankind is to be chained to a rock and have his liver pecked out and eaten by an eagle. Repeatedly.
  • In the Christian religion, pelicans are believed to possess a sharp beak able to pierce their own heart because of legends about mama pelicans giving her own blood to heal / nourish / resurrect (depending on the version) her children. It is possible that this legend was inspired by pelicans merely pressing their beak against their breast to empty any leftover from their hunt. Nonetheless, the pelican is now a symbol of piety and selflessness. This iconography was later used by the Allies asking for donations during World War II.

    Tabletop Games 

  • Dungeons & Dragons. In 1st and 2nd Edition Advanced D&D, many monsters (both bird-like and non-birdlike) have beak attacks that do enough damage to kill ordinary people (who have 1-6 Hit Points) with one blow. Some of these monsters and the number of Hit Points of damage their beaks do:
    • 1st Edition AD&D Monster Manual: axebeak (2-8), Type I Demon (1-6), pteranodon (2-8), triceratops (1-8), giant eagle (2-12), griffon (2-16), hippogriff (1-10), giant owl (2-5), giant octopus (2-12), owlbear (2-12), roc (4-24), hieracosphinx (1-10), giant squid (5-20)
    • 1st Edition AD&D Monster Manual II: boobrie (2-16), dragonnel (4-16), giant crane (1-10), diakk (1-12), phororhacos (2-12), giant pterosaur (3-12), eblis (1-4 x4), kraken (5-20), phoenix (2-12), giant raven (3-6), giant solifugid (4-16), vulchling (2-5)
    • 1st Edition AD&D Fiend Folio: achaierai (1-10), blood hawk (1-6), clubnek (1-8), grell (1-6), giant strider (1-8), gryph (2-12), kenku (1-6). thork (1-6)
  • In Warhammer: Age of Sigmar the avian beast-kin known as Tzaangor possess viciously sharp beaks that they use to peck and gouge their enemies flesh in addition to attacking with their savage blades.

    Video Games 

  • BlazBlue: Unlimited Arakune in one of his Limit Breaks shapeshifts into a black bird and flies forward while drilling his foe with his beak.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the Helmaroc King is a giant bird that attacks Link by slamming its beak down into the ground. This leads to the beak getting stuck in the ground, giving Link an opportunity to attack its head.
  • Somewhat subverted in Mega Man. Cut Man's level features several metallic beaks on the wall called Blasters (but also sometimes known as "Beaks" in some translations) but they actually just open and shoot Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Pokémon:
    • The series contains a lot of long-beaked Mons, but the most egregious of them remain the rather Com Mon Fearow and the three Legendary Birds from Gen I.
      • With Gen VII, the series finally introduces a woodpecker Pokémon called Pikipek. Its fully evolved form, Toucannon (a toucan, if the name didn't make it blatantly obvious), can burn opponents with its beak while charging up for Beak Blast.
    • "Peck" and "Drill Peck" are two moves learned by most bird-like Pokémon (but also horned Pokémon). "Pluck" is a in-between variant, with the added bonus of eating any berry held by the opponent.
    • The held item "Sharp Beak" boosts the power of Flying-type moves by 20%.
    • The "Big Pecks" ability (although a Pun on "pectoral") prevents some bird-like Pokemon's defense from being reduced.
  • In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, the duck part of the Duck Hunt duo uses its beak in rapid-fire attacks, accompanied by Audible Sharpness.
    • As part of his Divergent Character Evolution from Fox in Brawl and moving forward, Falco was given a drilling peck attack for one of his aerials, replacing what was a rapid series of kicks in Melee.
    • In Brawl's Adventure mode "The Subspace Emissary", the Auroros are recurrent bird-like enemies. They fly above the players and try to pin them down with their long and pointy beaks, ending stuck in the ground. The players can then pick them up and throw them like javelins at other enemies.
  • Bean the Duck in Sonic the Fighters can dash forward to jab his opponents with his rather pointy-looking bill.
  • The Burrowing Snagret from the Pikmin series — a creature with the body of a snake and the head of a bird — uses its largenote  beak to scoop up multiple Pikmin at once and eat them. There is also the Pileated Snagret, a footed variation of it.
  • The titular character from Ivy the Kiwi? can be thrown with bouncing vines, spinning around pointy beak first and breaking destructible blocks.
  • In Xenoblade, the Ansels are big flying birds with long and sharp-looking beaks. Their attack animation show them diving at the character, and their "Skewer" ability sounds rather self-explanatory.

    Western Animation 

  • Woody Woodpecker uses his beak in much the same way real woodpeckers do, to peck on trees, but he's not above pecking the heads of adversaries just for the hell of it.

    Real Life 

  • Herons. These birds hunt fish by darting them with their long, sharp beak. If humans (or predators) capture them, they will readily use their beak in self-defense, inflicting serious wounds. They also know to aim for the eye of their captor. This makes them one of the most dangerous birds ornithologists can work with.
  • Woodpeckers use their beaks to get insects from under the bark of trees, but when captured, they are willing to use it in self-defense. They can cause serious damage to the hand of the person who holds them.
  • Parrots primarily use their beaks to crush nuts and other hard objects, and prefer to fly away rather than fight predators, but the larger species if cornered can bite down with enough force to easily crush or sever a finger.
  • The long-gone dodos had large and apparently powerful beaks according to some reports. Hunters were warned to be careful about their bites.
  • The prehistoric terror birds are believed to have killed their prey by pecking them to death with axe-like motions of their large beaks.
    • It is believed that the predatory pterosaur Thalassodromeus hunted using a similar method.
  • Subverted with toucans. Sure, those huge beaks look powerful, but it's an illusion. They're actually very lightweight and not very strong either, being mainly used to pick small fruits from trees. Sadly, this also makes their beaks really delicate, and quite a few veterinarians have had to deal with toucans with severely damaged beaks.


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