A bird"s foot bones tend to be heavier than a similar-sized mammal"s. This is because a bird has actually just 2 legs to stand on, for this reason they must be solid enough to assistance its whole weight, whereas most mammals usage four.

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Although birds" knee seem to bend backwards, lock don’t. We cannot view their knees. What we check out is the ankle. Their knees are much additional up, typically obscured by feathers. Listed below their ankles is their foot, definition that birds was standing on their tiptoes. This likewise helps v their balance.

Killing and carrying

Eagles death their prey v their feet. Your legs need to be strong enough to take the impact, and also to bring the prey earlier to the nest. The thick feathers on one eagle’s ship hide the complete length of its legs. Yet you deserve to see on its skeleton the they room surprisingly long.


Wading birds use their lengthy legs to get in deep water, whilst maintaining their body above the surface ar to look because that food. Stilts have enormously lengthy legs, which aid them to uncover food that other wading birds of their dimension can’t reach. Long-legged birds often perch top top one foot while resting, helping to save them warm as long legs lose warm rapidly.


Ostriches have also bigger, heavier legs than us. They have no must save weight, since they room flightless. Instead, they get about by running. An ostrich can run at 70 kilometres per hour, much faster than many birds deserve to fly. At complete speed, the takes strides the over 4 metres.


Swifts have actually virtually no legs, just tiny toes for clinging come the cliffs and also buildings wherein they nest. They sleep, feed and also mate in the air, and never deliberately land on the ground. Together they don’t need legs lock have adjusted not to have actually them.

 typical swift Apus apus, individual clinging on come door, this bird to be being rehabilitated to ultimately be released, Bedfordshire
many birds use their feet because that walking or perching, yet feet have the right to be tools (owls), paddles (ducks), and also hands (parrots). Feet space also critical for scratching; how else might a bird reach its head?

Toe arrangements

Most birds have four toes, with three facing forward and also one back, however some birds’ toe are adapted to suit various needs. Woodpeckers, because that example, have actually two collection forward and also two back, to brace us firmly versus a vertical tree-trunk. Numerous game birds, and also domestic chickens, have a 5th toe v a spicy claw the they use for fighting rivals.

Killing feet

The feet of raptors and also owls are referred to as talons. Their sharp claws can pierce the skin or skull of their prey and hold it down while tearing turn off the flesh. The secretary bird is a tall raptor the hunts ~ above the afri savannah. The soles the its feet have challenging pads that skin, which it offers to stamp on food such together snakes and rodents.


Ducks, cormorants and also many other swimming birds have webbed feet. They occupational like paddles come push versus the water and propel the bird along. The toes wrinkles up the end of the way as each leg swings forward, as with a rower increasing an oar out of the water before pushing ago again.

Walking top top water

Many marshland birds, such as moorhens and herons, have long toes that spread the bird’s weight. This help to protect against it sinking into the mud. The longest toe of all belong to the dry jacana, which can walk across lily pads and other floating vegetation.

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Perching reflex

Ever wonder why bird never autumn off your perch? The answer is in their feet, which immediately grip tightly once their bodies space at rest. This is due to the fact that the tendons the flex the toes run along the outside of the ankle and knee, for this reason the toe clench as soon as these joints bend.