birding, birds with orange legs, birdwatching, British birds, Goosander, Mallard, Redshank, Turnstone
As a follow up to yesterday’s post about our local Redshanks, I thought I’d write about those legs, which, to my eye, are orange not red. A few months ago, I wondered aloud on social media why so many birds have such bright orange legs and was informed that, on a recent episode of the BBC’s Winterwatch television programme (I don’t have a tv so didn’t see it), it had been suggested that orange-coloured legs ‘are effective in disturbing benthic creatures when feeding/stirring the sediment’.
Another idea suggested on the Canadian Science.ca website is that ‘bright orange feet may reveal that the male is good at foraging (carotene comes in the diet)’, though the writer of that article also acknowledged that there may be several other factors at play, and that scientists don’t actually know the answer to the fascinating ‘why orange feet?’ question. So, if you have your own theories, or verified scientific knowledge, please do share in the comments.
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