My understanding is the long hind claws act as snowshoes by allowing skylarks to walk on top of dense grass clumps without sinking into them.
From: Birding-Aus <> On Behalf Of Philip Veerman
Sent: 10 February 2019 4:13 PM
To: 'birding-aus' <>
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Skylarks on wires
Quote from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lark “Like many ground birds, most lark species have long hind claws, which are thought to provide stability while standing.“
The idea handed down from Anthea truly is amusing. I wonder how using a long hind toe would achieve a result and why it would be of benefit. If a bird’s nest is discovered or disturbed such that there would be benefit in moving, the most likely outcome is eggs / chicks will be eaten.
You must have had a very good education. My teachers wouldn’t have known a skylark from a sparrow!
On Sun, 10 Feb 2019 at 13:59 Anthea Fleming <m("labyrinth.net.au","flambeau");">> wrote:
In my schooldays, I was told that the Skylark's long back toe enabled the bird to move its eggs to a new nest-site, if the old one was discovered or disturbed.
I have no idea if this is true.
Traditional version of the Skylark's song:
There's not a shoemaker on the earth
can make a shoe to me, to me!
Why so? why so? why so? why so?
Because my heel's as long's my toe!
From: Geoffrey Dabb [m("iinet.net.au","gdabb");">]
Sent: Sunday, 10 February, 2019 9:46 AM
To: 'Chris Gregory'; 'Philip Veerman'
Subject: RE: [Birding-Aus] Skylarks on wires
…………….. I came across one later while looking for a photo of a Skylark in colourful swamp-marsh growth, for a talk. Werribee is a good place for Skylarks, perhaps the Australian headquarters. I do also have a photo of a Skylark on a post. Also on barbed wire showing its remarkably long hind-claws. So far as I can find in the books, the purpose of these is unknown. Perhaps someone on this list will know.