The feet of birds give us clues about their habitat and diet.
These strong feet belong to a raptor or ‘bird of prey’, which are birds that specialise in catching and eating animals, such as fish, lizards and even other birds.
The sharp curved claws enable raptors to snatch and hold onto their prey while flying to a perch where they can dine in peace.
The webbed feet of waterbirds and seabirds act like paddles when they are swimming either above or below the waters’ surface.
Some waterbirds have half-webbed feet because they also spend time some time walking on land.
Species that spend most of their time hunting flying insects in the air, neither walking nor hopping, usually have very small feet.
Fairy martin by Sandra Gallienne. Used with permissionl
In contrast, those which scratch around on the ground for worms and other invertebrates hidden in the soil typically have large, sturdy feet.
Brush Turkeys are a fine example!
Text © Richard Noske 2019 CC BY-NC-SA