Toes and Feet
Wings are great for flight, but feathered forelimbs leave birds without front legs or arms that other creatures use while feeding, caring for young or ‘feathering their own nest.’
We typically recognize birds as using their feet and legs for locomotion (walking, running, hopping, climbing and swimming), and for perching and for absorbing the shock of landing. But did you know that when it comes to feeding, birds use their toes and feet as tools for catching, holding and carrying prey, and for scratching the ground in search of food? In the perpetuation of the avian species, bird toes and feet play a role in courtship, building a nest and, in some species, cradling their young and turning eggs during incubation. Let’s explore the fascinating world of bird feet.
Learn more about Illinois Audubon Society and see other Nature Quizzes at illinoisaudubon.org.