About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Walking birds

Photo of African Gray from Wikimedia Commons
Pigeon Walking
Do all birds (wild and domestic) birds walk pigeon toed? I have an African Grey Parrot who does this.

Foot structure varies. Avian feet, like bills, are related to the life-styles of the birds. For example, the Passeriformes, or perching birds, have feet with four separate toes, three of them directed forward, and one directed backward. Parrots and woodpeckers have two toes pointed forward and two backward. The four toes of raptors are highly separated. Owls can turn their fourth (outer) toe either forward or backward. Many waterbirds and shorebirds have three toes pointed forward, but the hind toe is often greatly reduced and raised so that it joins the leg above the level of the other toes and loses contact with the ground.

The locomotory patterns in bird species in different circumstances has never been studied. Not all birds walk. Smaller birds tend to hop while larger birds tend to stride.

But whether a bird hops or strides is not just a question of anatomy; speed also affects choice of locomotion -- a hopper in a hurry tends to break into a run.

There are a lot of unknowns in the bird world and how many are pigeon-toed is just another question that needs to be studied.

Source: http://web.stanford.edu/

Related articles:
Why it is called pigeon-toed http://goo.gl/m5G7Qy
Why do pigeons perch on statues? http://bit.ly/I3ClFa
War Pigeon Remembered http://bit.ly/HBhquZ
Bird of the Week: Rock Pigeon http://bit.ly/HBk9V2
Pre-Google Earth: A Real Bird's Eye View http://bit.ly/HBkjMk
Three pigeons working together http://bit.ly/HBkuau 

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