Why do different birds have different feet
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There is some confusion among some keepers about the birds' legs and feet. The individual parts of the body are often wrongly named, which can become a problem, especially when describing a disease, and often leads to misunderstandings. For example, the claw is often referred to, although the whole foot is meant. To avoid such misunderstandings, this chapter from Birds Online explains the structure of the budgerigars' lower extremities. The structure of the legs and feet of many other bird species is also very similar.
In the picture opposite, some of the lower parts of the legs and feet of a budgie are labeled. The leg begins at the hip, which in a standing budgie is on the side of the body and is covered by a wing. If you look downwards, you come to the featherless part of the lower extremity: the so-called part of the lower leg is attached directly to the lower leg bonesRun (1) on. Underneath is the foot, which in healthy budgies consists of two forward and two backward facingToes (2) consists; this is referred to as zygodactyle toe arrangement or Zygodactyly.
The parrot bird's two pairs of toes are not of the same length. The inner toes of parakeets and parrots are slightly shorter than the outer ones. This is clearly visible in the illustration in this paragraph, which shows a Lineolated Parakeet from below, sitting on a plexiglass plate. It is important for parrots that the toes are not all of the same length: This makes climbing and grasping easier. In general, both are so easy for them to do because they have the zygodactyle toe position.
A budgie toe is made up of several bones called phalanges or phalanxes. Budgerigars and other parrot birds, as well as a number of other bird species, have one at the front end of each toeclaw (3). How light or dark the claws of the animals are depends on many ornamental bird species, including the budgie, on their color or dark factor. Budgies without dark factors have very light, almost transparent claws and budgies with two dark factors have almost black claws. Contrary to rumors to the contrary, the color of the budgerigars' claws says nothing about the age of the birds.
The claws are not entirely dead. In each of them there is a blood vessel that extends about halfway or a little further into the claw. The illustration on the right shows the approximate course of such a blood vessel, see red marking. The fact that these blood vessels exist should definitely be taken into account when shortening the claws. If you accidentally cut off too much horn material, you may injure the blood vessel embedded in it, which can result in severe bleeding.
The leg joints of birds
The two easily visible joints on the leg of a budgie or other pet bird are often wrongly named by laypeople. Birds cannot be inferred from humans simply because their anatomy is different. The photo in this paragraph shows a budgie suffering from a plumage disorder. It is particularly easy to see the joints with him. At the very bottom of the leg is the foot (4) with the Metatarsophalangeal joint. The toes branch off from there and can be moved individually. The joint that lies a little above the foot (5) is the so-called Ankle joint or intertarsal joint, i.e. the joint that we humans correspond to what is often referred to as the ankle in colloquial language. The tarsometatarsus extends between the metatarsophalangeal joint and the intertarsal joint, in German this bony part of the bird's skeleton is called the running leg. The intertarsal joint is mistakenly mistaken for the knee region of birds, but this is incorrect. The Knee joint (6) is usually located under the plumage of the budgie and other birds and is not visible. In our example photo, however, it is easy to see because the bird has no feathers on its leg. In birds, the tibiotarsus is located between the ankle and the knee joint.
If you follow the leg from the knee joint upwards towards the body, you will next get to the hip joint (7). It is usually hidden under the plumage and usually even under the wings attached to the body. It can be felt as a thickening on the side of the spine and pelvis. The photo on the right again shows the budgie, which suffers from a plumage disorder and in which all leg joints can therefore be clearly seen. The bone between the knee and hip joint is called the femur, in German it is called the thigh bone.
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