LEG LENGTH AND FEED­ING BE­HAV­IOUR

Bird Watching (UK) - - July Id Challenge -

Just as waders’ bills are of dif­fer­ent lengths and shapes ac­cord­ing to their pref­er­en­tial feed­ing method, so their legs are also of dif­fer­ent lengths. These can be use­ful ID point­ers. For in­stance, the some­what sim­i­lar Black-tailed and Bar-tailed God­wits have strik­ingly dif­fer­ent leg lengths. Black-tailed God­wits (be­low; lower) are lanky, long-legged birds, while in com­par­i­son, Bar-tailed God­wits (be­low; up­per) look short-legged to the point of dumpi­ness. Sim­i­larly, the sim­i­lar Dun­lin and Curlew Sand­piper have dif­fer­ent leg lengths, with the longer legs of the lat­ter al­low­ing them to wade belly-deep in deeper wa­ter than their usu­ally more mar­ginal feed­ing cousins.

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