bird feet

To: Birding Australia <>
Subject: bird feet
From: Bob Howe <>
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 00:19:57 +0930 (CST)
        A colleague of mine at the Univ. of Wisconsin is interested in 
the use of feet by Australian birds, especially passerines.  Apparently 
only two passerine superfamilies (Corvidea and Sylviodea) are known to 
use a behavior called "grasping", where the birds hold food in their toes 
and rest their tarsometatarsus on the perch or bring the food to their 
bill while balancing on one foot.  This contrasts with a less clever 
behavior called "clamping", where the bird holds food between the foot 
and perch, while picking food with the bill.  

        If you get the opportunity to observe Australian birds engaged in 
feeding behavior involving feet, Michael Putnam would be very grateful 
for your help.  He can be reached via email at:


        This isn't easy, but might add some spice to your backyard or 
field trip observations.

                                        All the best.   Bob.  

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