1. In biology, “dactyly” means:

a. A condensation polymer obtained from ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid.

b. The arrangement of digits (fingers and toes) on the hands, feet, or sometimes wings of an animal.

c. A classification of birds.

d. A classification of parrots living in Micronesia.

2. Parrots are “zygodactyl.” What does this mean?

a. They are initially formed from a “zygote.” (The developing individual produced from the single cell that is formed when the sperm cell fertilizes the egg cell.)

b. It refers to a part of the parrot’s skull: The zygomatic arch or cheek bone .

c. These birds are suffering from a zinc deficiency, usually due to insufficient dietary intake.

d. The toes are arranged in pairs. The second and third toes in front, the fourth and hallux behind.

3. What is the advantage of this “zygodactyl” arrangement?

a. They can climb easily and pick up their food.

b. They have better balance

c. They don’t ever get blisters.

d. They don’t need to lay down to sleep.

4. A duck has webbed feet, also called “palmate.” How many of the toes are webbed?

a. All of them.

b. Two

c. Three

d. Just the outer toes.

5. Most birds who are zygodactyl are a certain type of bird. What kind?

a. Raptorial

b. Arboreal

c. Seed eaters

d. Wetlands

Check Your Answers

  1. The correct answer is B.
  2. The correct answer is D.
  3. The correct answer is A.
  4. The correct answer is C.
  5. The correct answer is B.

Did You Know?

  • Dactyly comes from the Greek word meaning “finger.”
  • The toe arrangement on a parrot allows them to easily manipulate food and objects.
  • The “hallux” is the innermost toe on each foot.

Patricia Sund is the creative director of Bird Talk Magazine, and has written for a variety of avicultural-themed publications, including Bird Talk, the Bird Talk Annual, Birds USA, Phoenix Landing’s Phoenix Beakin’ and Watchbird magazine for the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA). She lives in Florida with her three African grey parrots, Parker, Pepper and Nyla, stars of the popular column, “Memo to Parker & Pepper.”

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