your second question. As far as I am aware this character varies to bird
taxonomy. I would be very surprised if this would vary within individuals or
even families of birds (by family I mean taxonomically), but odd birds like
mousebirds might do something strange. Here is a bit from one of my little
old books "Bird behaviour" by John Sparks that answers you. I could have retyped
it but why bother? There may be many more recent examples but I have no
basis to doubt this description.
24 Castley Circuit
Kambah ACT 2902
02 - 62314041
Geoffrey's email reminded me of an observation a couple of weeks ago:
Firstly, an Australian Raven was tucking into a large, discarded bread
roll/pastry-looking-thing on Clunies Ross Street. As I approached, the
raven started to carry the obviously heavy item away from me, head and neck
drooping from the load. It then took off and, just as I was wondering how
it would carry the pastry-thing and fly, it deftly passed the food from beak to
feet in mid-air, and flew away. I just thought it looked very cool.
And secondly, what determines whether a bird is an "under-wing" scratcher
(uses feet to scratch body part from underneath the wings) or an "over-wing"
scratcher (drops the wings and pokes the legs behind the shoulder in order to
scratch said body part)? Is this individual preference, does it vary
inter-specifically, is it a passerine v. non-passerine difference, or
On 02/09/2010, at 10:36 AM, Geoffrey Dabb wrote:
evident from the below, this is another cocky that some might regard as
left-footed. My own view is that right-footed birds hold the food in the
left foot because it is less serious dropping the food than falling out of the
tree. That leaves the question: which foot holds the food while
the bird flies into the tree? Answer: neither (in the bill).