A group of mandschurosaurus dinosaurs in a forest clearing

Duck-billed dinosaurs

Duck-billed dinosaurs were successful and common herbivores from the upper Cretaceous period. The secret of their success perhaps lay with the duck-shaped bill that clipped vegetation and the many small teeth that ground it down. There were two types: some with a bony crest on their head for resonating sound and some without. Fossilised nest sites have shown that some species may have travelled to communal nesting grounds to lay eggs, as many bird species do today. Fossils from the many species are found all over modern-day Europe, Asia and North America, and show that some grew to around 12 metres.

Scientific name: Hadrosauridae

Rank: Family

Common names:

  • bulky lizard,
  • Hadrosaurs

Watch video clips from past programmes (3 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

Cretaceous period Cretaceous period
The Cretaceous ended with the most famous mass extinction in history - the one that killed the dinosaurs. Prior to that, it was a warm period with no ice caps at the poles.

What killed them

Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction
The Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction - also known as the K/T extinction - is famed for the death of the dinosaurs. However, many other organisms perished at the end of the Cretaceous including the ammonites, many flowering plants and the last of the pterosaurs.

BBC News about Duck-billed dinosaurs

Elsewhere on the BBC