Bird Feet Birds have feet of different shapes and sizes.
Bird Feet Most birds have four toes: three toes point forward and one toe points backwards.
Bird Feet Birds use their feet in a variety of ways. Can you think of some? To climb, To walk, To run, To swim, To build their nests, and To get food, to name just a few.
Types of Feet Birds need different feet depending on where they live and how they eat.
Types of Feet Wading feet: Birds that live near the water need feet designed to help them wade into the water to find food, like this heron:
Types of Feet Wading feet: Birds that live and feed near water need longer legs and toes that spread out to keep them from sinking into the soft mud.
Types of Feet Webbed feet: Birds that live in water need feet made for swimming, like this duck:
Types of Feet Webbed feet: The skin between the toes, called “webbing,” help these birds to swim through the water. Have you ever worn flippers when you’ve gone swimming? They work the same way to propel you through the water and help you swim farther faster.
Types of Feet Climbing feet: Some birds spend much of their time climbing on the trunks of trees to find food. Their feet are made up of sharp, curved claws that help them climb and clutch the bark of trees, like this woodpecker:
Types of Feet Climbing feet: The toes on climbing feet are arranged differently from most other bird feet. What do you notice?
Types of Feet Climbing feet: There are two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing back. This configuration helps the bird to grasp the tree more tightly while it searches for food.
Types of Feet Perching feet: Many birds have three toes pointing forward and one pointing backward. Over half the world’s birds have a single hind toe which helps them to get a tight grip on branches, like this mockingbird:
Types of Feet Perching feet: Not all perching feet look the same, but they have the same structure of three toes forward and one toe back.
Types of Feet Predator feet: Birds of prey have long talons which help them to catch their food, like this eagle:
Types of Feet Predator feet: These birds need feet that can grip and grab.
The next time you see a bird, take a look at its feet. Use your detective/ scientific skills of observation. Those feet can tell you a lot about the bird! Who am I? A chicken! Click on these toes to see more feet!