May 20, 2012: Zygodactl Feet

May 20, 2012: Zygodactl Feet

May 20, 2012: Zygodactl Feet

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by Bob Sallinger

kgw.com

Posted on May 20, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 6:28 PM

Right now the camera appears to be down. KGW is working to restore the picture.

One cool feature of ospreys are their feet. Unlike hawk, falcons and eagles which have their talons arranged with three talons forward and one back, osprey have their talks arranged two back and two forward. The outer rear talon is flexible such that is can move forward into a 3:1 configuration when needed. This arrangement is know as "zygodactyl." Other species with this type of configuration include woodpeckers, parrots and some owls.

Return to Osprey Cam

The configuration allows prey greater flexibility in grabbing and hanging onto the fish they capture. In addition osprey also have barbed pads in their feet which also aid in gripping. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, studies show that osprey catch fish on approximately one out of every four dives and the spend about 12 minutes on average hunting for fish before launching into a dive. Once they have a fish the arrange the fish with its head facing forward to minimize wind resistance.

The following shots by Jim Cruce show how osprey hold and carry the fish they catch. Thanks to Jim for the use of his amazing photos!

 

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