Toothy Bird

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The tendency of illustrators to give humanlike teeth to birds and other animals that lack them in Real Life. NOTE: This trope can apply to all animals that don't normally have teeth, not just birds.

The trope namers are all the birds in traditional animation who often appear lack teeth normally - but will suddenly have them in order to form a human-based facial expression that requires them. A big toothy grin, clenched teeth of rage, and so on. This trope can also cover teeth appearing on other non-toothed animals (eg turtles), but birds are overwhelmingly the most common animals to be subjected to it.

Sometimes, all the teeth in the animal's mouth (whether of a toothed species or of a toothless one) are drawn as incisors, whether a little wider than real incisors or not. In Real Life, no animal has a mouth with dentition made up entirely of incisors, not even humans.

This is almost exclusively seen in traditional animation. In CGI, on the other hand, the transient teeth would be harder to implement, since all animation of a character is done from a fixed model.

A somewhat rarer form of the trope is for the not-normally-toothed animal to have teeth at all times. This is somewhat more common in CGI, given the difference between traditional and computer animation.

Similar to No Mouth, where a mouth appears only when the character is speaking. See also Cartoony Eyes and Feather Fingers. For the record, actual toothed birds existed (once) and are known as Odontolcae or Odontotormae, depending on how their teeth are set.

Examples of Toothy Bird include:


  • Mammal variant: one Dentisticks dog-chew ad depicts "doggy dentures" as a joke, with smiling dogs displaying brilliant white CGI teeth that are very obviously shaped like a human's, not a dog's. Yes, dogs are supposed to have teeth, but the incongruity of this trope still applies.
  • Can be seen in some sports mascots.
    • The University of Louisville Cardinal has teeth.
    • The Kent State University Flash has teeth.

Anime and Manga

  • Chicken George from Fourteen.
  • Lampshaded in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure part 3, when Iggy (a dog) battles Pet Shop (a falcon). Pet Shop flashes an evil grin at one point (although he shows no teeth), which Iggy notes shouldn't be possible.
  • The Japanese Star Fox manga gave Falco teeth whenever he needed to look angry or cocky.
  • Birdramon from Digimon Adventure, but not her previous form, Biyomon.
  • Has been seen numerous times in the Pokémon anime, but justified in that the creatures are purely fictional.
    • It's often one-off gags. For example, Dawn's Piplup normally has no teeth, but at times he is shown with them (noticeably when he grates them).

Comic Books

  • Scrooge McDuck's ancestor Seafoam McDuck from Carl Barks had a mouth full of gold teeth.


  • Crustacean example, Sebastian from The Little Mermaid has human-like teeth.
  • Another non-bird example, the protagonist of Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken. Whether Ruby (or any krakens) have endoskeletons or not isn't stated (her arms being very bendy and stretchy, suggesting the tentacles of a cephalopod) but she does have human-like teeth, as shown in the opening scene where she sleeps with a retainer clip.


  • In the Brazilian 1970s-era children's book series A Galinha Nanduca (Nanduca, the Chicken) The titular bird has teeth, and this is actually the major plot point of the stories: When people realize she has teeth, everyone tries to capture her to make money out of the poor animal, causing a huge havoc where ever she goes, eventually destroying the city. One of the books has even a famous brazilian entertainer to join the chase, eventually promising a good reward to anyone who catches her.

Newspaper Comics

  • In Peanuts, Woodstock and other birds have done this. Woodstock even needed braces in one story!
  • All the bird characters in Shoe seem to have teeth. The women have Non-Mammal Mammaries, too
  • The penguins in If...

Video Games

  • Skullgirls: Peacock's bird lackey Avery sports a set of beaky teeth (Note that Peacock herself, despite the name, is not actually a bird).
  • King Dedede in games of the Kirby series. Also in the anime.
  • The Babylon Rogues from the Sonic the Hedgehog series sometimes have teeth.

Web Comics

  • Several of the gryphons in The Pride of Life have permanent teeth. Probably justified in that they have lion ancestry.
  • The gryphons in Skin Deep have teeth in their beaks, but Word of God says that their beaks are actually more similar to dinosaur jaws than to bird beaks.

Western Animation

  • Daffy Duck shows off his Schroedinger's Teeth in pretty much every appearance. Most other Looney Tunes birds such as Foghorn Leghorn also do this at least occasionally.
    • Despite retaining his teeth in Baby Looney Tunes, Daffy somehow got upset that he didn't have any teeth because he wouldn't get any money from the tooth fairy. He still had teeth in that episode and nobody noticed them, not even himself.
    • In The Looney Tunes Show, Daffy gets drastic beak reduction surgery, which left exposed his upper teeth.
  • Donald Duck has also been known to call pearly whites into existence, mainly to express anger.
    • Or when he has a particularly mischievous smile.
  • In another Disney example, Iago from Aladdin sports a fine set of choppers.
  • Yet another Disney example: Not really a bird, but Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb has a teeth-ful beak, and it often shows when he makes a sound.
  • Ducks in general seem to make up a lot of these, although this may be an artifact of ducks being the most frequently featured birds in cartoons. Examples:
    • "Lobo The Duck" and Howard the Duck both have permanent teeth, perhaps in order to give them a way to hold their cigars. (Probably justified with Howard since he's from an alternate universe and can't really fly (it's believed birds have no teeth to lighten their skulls).
    • The Mighty Ducks, said ducks would often show full sets of pearly-whites.
    • Count Duckula, by necessity, has teeth. Our Vampires Are Different, but not that different.
    • Duckman and his family.
    • Quackerjack from Darkwing Duck always has teeth. Negaduck has also been seen with them. Darkwing (Negaduck's not-so-evil twin) can display them for a shiny smile, or to pull something open with them. And at one point, while showing that hamminess runs in the family, Gosalyn flashes some fangs while introducing a story.
    • Dr. LeQuack from Courage the Cowardly Dog.
  • Birds in Aardman Animation's works will have humanlike teeth if and when they talk. Examples are Chicken Run and Creature Comforts.
  • Buzzy the Crow has has teeth, one of them even being gold!
  • A majority of the birds from Ren and Stimpy.
    • Related John Kricfalusi example: Stanley the elephant in the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Who Bopped Bugs Bunny?" has his mouth (with teeth) at the end of his trunk.
      • Conversely, the anteaters from the Ice Age movies have mouths at the bases of their snouts, not at the tips where they ought to be. Not sure if they ever show visible teeth inside those displaced mouths, but if they do, that's also wrong as anteaters are toothless.
      • Stanley was pretty inconsistent; he'd occasionally have his mouth in the normal location. So either he had two mouths or the animators weren't paying any attention to what they were doing.
  • Vlad Vladikoff from Horton Hears a Who!is an example of the "always has teeth" variant. In a nice subversion, the teeth he has are fairly realistic as far as what bird teeth looked like (see below).
  • Averted in The Penguins of Madagascar (though it'd have to do with the CGI models), but interestingly enough, said penguins do tend to smile or frown in a variety of ways (from smiling to smirking to psychotically grinning; from frowning to scowling to glowering), mainly because their beaks easily conform into such shapes.
  • In the fourth The Land Before Time movie, Ichy, a bird, has a set of teeth. The trope is justified in this case, since he is an Ichthyornis, a prehistoric bird which did have teeth in real life.
  • A well-known non-bird (though still a beaked dinosaur) example: Aladar and his creepy-ass humanlike teeth inside his creepy-ass fleshy lips.
    • A magazine published around when the movie hit theaters said that the creators tried giving the Iguanadons beaks, and found that they made it look like he was clopping coconuts together. It also just looked lazy.
  • Another non-bird example: Pluto the Pup is a non-anthro dog with very un-doglike teeth. Come to think of it, his human/horselike teeth that are all incisors and flat molars are pretty creepy too.
    • Especially noticeable in "Canine Caddy," the gopher and even Mickey Mouse are drawn with species appropriate buck teeth, but Pluto still has a mouth full of teeth that all look like incisors or flat molars.
  • Don Bluth's The Pebble and the Penguin has the villainous Drake, who could bite through a coconut with his ridiculous looking chompers. Just look at his picture on the film's poster.
    • On the subject of Don Bluth, Jeremy from The Secret of NIMH occasionally sports a mouth full of pearly whites in some scenes.
  • The Goodfeather pigeons from Animaniacs.
  • A human example: Stewie often seems to have a mouth full of teeth, even though he is supposed to be a baby who has only gotten two.
  • Abby "Ugly Duckling" Mallard from Chicken Little sports a huge pair of buck teeth at all times.
  • Poe from Ruby Gloom has teeth at all times, even mentioning in one episode that he's had his wisdom teeth taken out.
  • Boris, the goose from Balto, has teeth most of the time.
    • Toned down in the sequels, as the animation style is different.
  • Justified in some depictions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as their (toothless) turtle traits were altered by the addition of human ones.
  • Chicken in Cow and Chicken.
  • The earliest Woody Woodpecker cartoons show him with snaggle teeth. In a later cartoon (once his character had evolved), Woody shows off his pearly whites, explaining that he cut his own teeth.
  • Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog has teeth even as a frog, as his toothy grin is a big part of his character design. Tiana, however, does not retain her teeth as a frog. (In real life, frogs do have teeth, though not like human teeth.)
    • Also, Ray the firefly and his family all have teeth.
  • Mordecai the blue jay from Regular Show, according to one of the storyboarders, has "beaka dentata".
  • Finding Nemo featured not only toothy pelicans, but also toothy fish (not counting the sharks). Especially noticable is Kathy, one of Nemo's classmates (she is a blue and yellow fish with prominent buck teeth who screams, "Oh my gosh, Nemo's swimming out to sea!" after seeing Nemo touching the diver's boat).
  • Lovie the bird on Jimmy Two-Shoes.
  • An early episode of Crusader Rabbit featured Vernon the vulture, who not only had teeth but got them knocked out of his beak.
  • Duck from Almost Naked Animals.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: Not birds per se, but Rocko's cantankerous neighbors, the Bigheads, should count since they're cane toads (unlike frogs, who have small teeth on their upper jaw, most toads do not have teeth). Most notable for Ed Bighead, who often bares human-like teeth when he's angry.
  • The birds in Birdz have not just teeth, but also faces that resemble a snout more than a beak.
  • The birds in Jumanji have teeth at all times, not for comedy but to make them more frightening. It works.
  • When grinning, Gilda the griffon from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic gains not only teeth but also lips extending far beyond her beak. It's better not to think about it too hard.
  • A flashback picture in Surf's Up shows that Lani was this when she was a kid.
  • As a Sky Bison, Appa of course has teeth, but bizarrely all of them look like molars.

Real Life

  • Archaeopteryx, the earliest bird to appear in the fossil record, had teeth, quite literally making it the Ur Example. These were lost, along with certain other features like bony tails, in the Neornithes, the group that contains all modern birds.
    • ... and regained in these.
      • They still carry the gene. Rarely, they can actually develop them (in the embryonic stage).
    • Other toothless birds (the "Enantiorns") also existed during the Mesozoic.
    • It might be noted that the reason only toothless birds exist today is because a few species of toothless birds survived the K-T extinction versus none of the toothed species.
  • Wacky genetics: have grown chicken embryos with teeth in hopes that it may lead to a breakthrough against baldness. [dead link]
  • The deep ocean squid species Promachoteuthis sulcus looks like it has human teeth. Actually, it's an optical illusion created by the squid's teeth-like lips, but that doesn't make it any less creepy looking.
  • Saw-billed ducks are a weird example, as their bills have serrations on the inside edges to help them grip slippery fish. Not true teeth, but their function is similar. From the side, an open-beaked duck looks as if it has a set of miniature shark teeth.
  • The sheepshead fish has alarmingly humanlike teeth.
  • Like birds, pterosaurs had teeth in their primitive stage, including the famous species Rhamphorynchus.
  • Ducks have tooth-like structures on the sides of their bill called pecten, which are used for preening and straining food from the water.
  • The toothlike serrations inside a penguin's mouth, used to grip fish, are #3 of's 7 Most Terrifying Mouths in Nature.