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Upper Elementary Science - II
2.8 Birds and Their Claws

Birds are warm-blooded vertebrate animals that have wings, feathers, and a beak but no teeth. Flying birds have strong, hollow bones and powerful flight muscles.

Birds use their feet for many different reasons. One reason would be to find food. The other reason would be to push away dirt. In addition to finding their food, birds use their feet to hold their food. Most birdsí feet have toes with a claw at the tip.

There are many foot variations. Longer toes help birds walk on mud or unstable surfaces by spreading out their weight. Many marsh birds have long toes to allow them to walk on mud and not sink.

Running birds: Most running birds have two or three toes.
Examples: Ostrich has only two toes.

Perching birds: These have three toes facing frontward and one toe in the back.
Examples: Usually the small birds like sparrows, crows, flycatchers, etc.

Climbing birds: These have two toes facing frontward and two in the back to give them more clinging support. This arrangement is called zygodactylous by scientists. Parrots, most woodpeckers, toucans, and cuckoos have this arrangement.

Swimmers: Birds that swim have webbing between the toes. Ducks, geese, swans have such toes.

The color of the legs and feet of birds varies widely -- including gray, white, black, brown, tan, and even pink. Many times the color of the feet helps the birds camouflage, keeping them safer.

Q 1: Birds living in marshy environments have
Webbed toes
Long toes
Short toes

Q 2: Birds living in aquatic environments have
short toes
long toes
Webbed toes

Q 3: Zygodactylus are those birds that have
two in the front and two at the back
two toes in the front and two at the back
three in the front and one at the back

Q 4: The teeth in birds have been modified to beak.

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Question 6: This question is available to subscribers only!

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