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Habitats and Different Types of Feet, Beaks and Claws of Birds

Birds around us shows different body structures as per the habitat where they live. Some birds have climbing feet and some have webbed feet. Some birds have hooked beaks while others have broad beaks. In this concept, the students will understand the uses of different types of beaks and claws of birds.

After reading the concept, students will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of running feet for Ostrich.
  • Compare between the types of feet of sparrow and eagle.
  • Recite the names of birds with long beak.
  • Remember the names of the birds with broad and flat beak.
  • Answer what is the habitat of webbed feet birds.
  • Discuss why do birds make nest?
  • Identify the types of bird nests.


Each concept is explained to class 4 students using descriptions, illustrations, and concept maps. After you go through a concept, assess your learning by solving the two printable worksheets given at the end of the page.

Download the worksheets and check your answers with the worksheet solutions for the concept Facts about Birds provided in PDF format.

We see different birds around, but none of them looks the same. Their body structure, feathers, feet, and beaks are all different. For example, a crow and a peacock are birds but utterly different from one another.




Types of Feet in Birds:

1. Walking and Running Feet:

  • Small birds can move from one place to another by hopping, but larger birds move from one place to another by walking or running.
  • Pheasants are walking birds; they have strong feet with short toes.
  • Runners like an ostrich, a flightless bird, have strong muscular legs with hoof-like feet that help them run faster on the ground when needed.





2. Perching Feet:

  • Most of the birds have perching feet.
  • It is a type of foot that helps birds grasp the tree branches tightly.
  • Such a foot has three front toes and one strong hind toe with pointed claws.
  • This hind toe helps the bird grasp tree branches from the back, and the front toes help hold the front side of the branch.
  • As a result, the bird can securely perch on the tree branches.





3. Climbing Feet:

  • Climbing feet help birds climb tree branches vertically.
  • This type of foot has two toes directed forward and two toes directed backwards.
  • All toes have sharp claws. The forward toes help the birds climb tree branches by clinging to the bark.





4. Gripping Feet:

  • Gripping feet help the birds to catch prey.
  • All types of carnivorous birds have gripping feet.
  • Such feet can carry rats, snakes, small birds, and other small animals from one place to another place.
  • A griping foot has sharply hooked claws that grip and carry prey below its body and away from the wings so that the bird can fly.





5. Webbed Feet:

  • Webbed feet are also known as flippers.
  • Such feet have toes that are connected with thin and flexible skin folds.
  • These folds of skin help in swimming.





Beaks of Birds:

  • Different birds have different types of beaks according to their food habits.
  • Ducks have flat and square beaks as they eat weeds and snails.
  • Pelicans have long and pouch-like beaks that help them eat fish.
  • Eagles and hawks have hooked beaks that help them tear and eat the flesh of other animals.
  • Hummingbirds have tubular beaks that help them suck the flower nectar.






Habitats of Birds:

A habitat is the natural surroundings or home of an animal, bird, insect, or plant.

In the case of most birds, they make nests to lay eggs and look after their young ones.


Why Do Birds Make Nests?

Birds make nests before they lay eggs.The nest acts as a safe place for the parent birds to look after the baby birds.Birds lay eggs in their nests and keep them warm.After hatching, they take care of the chicks.They bring food for the chicks and train them how to fly.When the chicks grow up, they leave their nest.


Materials Used by the Birds to Make Nests:

  • Different types of birds make different types of nests.
  • To make nests they commonly use leaves, grass, mud straws, soft twigs, cotton, pieces of wire, and wood.


Types of Birds Nest:

1. Crow:

  • Crows make their nests on the leafy branches high up on a tree.
  • While making nests, they use various materials like straw, thin twigs, and leaves.
  • The inner part of the nest is made with softer materials like grass, soft bark, animal hair, etc.
  • Cuckoos (or koel) lay their eggs in the crows’ nests.


2. Woodpecker:

  • Woodpeckers make their nests inside tree trunks by making holes with their sharp and pointed beaks.
  • They have climbing feet which help them cling to the tree bark.
  • They lay eggs inside the holes.


3. Tailorbird:

  • Tailor birds make their nests with leaves.
  • The birds have very sharp beaks.
  • They stitch the leaves with twigs or threads and build nests for their chicks.
  • They lay eggs on the leaf folds.
  • These birds usually make their nests in bushes.


4. Weaver Bird:

  • Weaver birds make beautiful nests.
  • Male weaver birds make woven nests.
  • These nests look like pendulums, and they hang from the tree branches.
  • These nests have a nesting chamber in the centre and a long hollow tube attached to that chamber.
  • These birds have conical beaks.
  • They tie knots with straw strands to make nests.


5. Dove:

  • Tailor birds make their nests with leaves.
  • The birds have very sharp beaks.


6. Sparrow:

  • Sparrows make their nests anywhere in the holes and crevices of buildings.


7. Pigeon:

  • Pigeons make their nests in old and deserted buildings.


8. Sunbird:

  • Sunbirds make hanging nests on small trees and bushes.
  • To build their nests, they use pieces of cloth rags, dry leaves, bits of tree bark, grass, thin twigs, and cotton.

Dove's nest

Sparrow's nest

Pigeon nest in tree

Pigeon's nest

Sunbird's nest


New Words:

Hopping: A type of jumping movement with both feet at the same time.

Perching: Sitting on a narrow and tall tree branch.

Clinging: To hold on or to attach something very tightly.

Hoof-like: Horses and cows have a hard covering on the tip of their toe called a hoof,so anything that looks like this is called hoof-like.

Grasp: To hold something firmly.

Crevices: Narrow opening in a wall or a rock.

Tubular: Something having a shape similar to a tube.


Did You Know?

  • The hummingbird lays the smallest egg, which is the size of a pea, whereas the largest egg is laid by an ostrich.
  • The goose is thought to be the first bird domesticated by humans.
  • The black and white colour of penguins help them camouflage against prey and predators under water.
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