There are different types of birds that live in different environments. For this reason, they need useful legs that help them survive in their natural habitat. Their types of legs is what makes them hunt, climb, swim, etc., depending on their environment and needs. In this article we are going to tell you about the different types of bird’s feet that exist and what they are most useful for.

Types of legs in birds

While humans and other primates have five fingers and five toes, birds generally have only four fingers. These four fingers are arranged in four main patterns. However, there are some birds that have three fingers. Even, there are also birds like the ostrich, which only has two fingers on its legs. To know more about the legs of the birds and their main uses, we tell you what are the types of legs that you can find according to which birds:


Anissodactyls are the most common legs in birds, where their flexible fingers are located three forward and one back. This means that they can easily walk on the ground or hold onto tree branches. Most species have anisdactyl legs; some examples are blackbirds, sparrows, thrushes, and kingflies.

The back finger offers balance, and is also the one that clings to the branch when the bird sits or wants to sleep.

2.Acuatic birds

Since they spend a lot of time in contact with water, the legs in waterfowl have evolved in an incredible way: between each of the toes a membrane unfolds that allows them to propel themselves in the water. These webbed feet can always be open or closed when walking on the ground. Herons or ducks are a good example of them.

3.Birds Raptors

Also known as “birds of prey”, they have hook-shaped legs. Their fingers are big and strong, and they have well-sharpened nails to be able to catch their victims during the flight.

The legs of birds of prey are usually yellow or black. Some species of birds of prey are the eagle, the hawk and the owl.

4.Land birds

We cannot ignore those who go by land, such as poultry (chickens or pheasants), whose fingers and nails are very robust to dig the earth in search of food such as insects.

Others like the woodpecker have two fingers forward and two fingers to grab onto tree trunks and get food.

In this same category we can also talk about the running birds, such as the ostrich and the rhea, which have large legs but short fingers, in order not to get stuck in the ground. The heels are sharp to defend themselves if necessary.