Why Are Some Birds Great at Using Their Feet? A Look into Avian Skills

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Parrots are like the champions of using their feet. They’re super good at moving their feet around and doing tricky stuff with them. You know, some birds like owls and hawks can use their feet to grab food, and some can even do it while flying, which is pretty amazing. There are also some birds like crows that can hold things against surfaces, and these special crows from a place called New Caledonia are really good at using tools. But most of the small singing birds are not that great at using their feet.

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There’s this scientist named Luis Chiappe who studies old things, like dinosaur times, and he thinks it’s not surprising that being good at sitting on branches in trees helped birds become good at using their feet. He didn’t help with the study we’re talking about, but he thinks the study is really good work.

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Even though we don’t exactly know why some birds that live in trees are good with their feet and some aren’t, a smart person named Gutiérrez-Ibáñez thinks it might have to do with what these birds eat. Birds that catch and eat other animals usually have better skills with their feet, kind of like hands, compared to those birds that eat things like seeds, fruits, worms, or tiny bugs.

Parrots are different because some scientists believe that parrots from a long time ago used to hunt like owls and falcons. That’s maybe why today’s parrots are good at grabbing stuff with their feet, even though they mostly eat fruits and seeds.

In the end, this new study teaches us that when regular people work together, they can help scientists learn new things. So, you know when you share a picture of a cool bird on Instagram? Well, that picture could end up helping scientists learn more cool stuff too.

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