Birding Australia <>
Bob Howe <>
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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