Zy­go­dactyl foot­prints

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your Birding Month -

Most birds, es­pe­cially perch­ing birds, have three for­ward point­ing toes and one rear or hind toe. Some birds, no­tably wood­peck­ers and the Cuckoo, par­rots (such as the Ring-necked Para­keet) and owls, have two toes point­ing for­ward and two point­ing back. This ar­range­ment is called a zy­go­dactyl foot. So, if you find foot­prints of a small bird in mud, in most cases (for small land birds), there will be the im­pres­sion of the three front toes and one back. But some­times you may see a zy­go­dactyl print. And in most cases it will be a wood­pecker. And in most cases of it be­ing a wood­pecker, it will be a Green Wood­pecker, the largest and most ter­res­trial of our three res­i­dent species.

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