The Raptorial Foot of a Hawk

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“Fig. 46. - Raptorial foot of a hawk, Accipiter cooperi. The raptorial is another modification of the insessorial foot. It is advantageous to a bird of pray to be able to spread the toes as widely as possible, that the talons may seize pray like a set of grappling irons; and accordingly the toes are widely divergent from each other, the outer one in the owls and a few hawks being quite versatile. In a raptorial character, the toes are cleft profoundly, or, if united at base, it is by movable webbing; the claws are immensely developed and the under-surfaces of the toes are scabrous or bulbous for greater security of the object grasped.” Elliot Coues, 1884


Bird Anatomy


Elliot Coues Key to North American Birds (Boston, MA: Estes and Lauriat, 1884)


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