Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Hawaiian goose, or Nene
Branta sandvicensis (Vigors, 1833)
Anatidae; Anseriformes; Aves; Chordata
London Wetland Centre
The mystery foot from the last post belongs to one of the Hawaiian geese resident at the London Wetland Centre. Unlike most other anseriforms (ducks, geese, swans, magpie goose, whistling-ducks, and screamers), it has semipalmate webbing, meaning the webbing between the toes does not extend all the way to the tips of the digits. Since the Hawaiian goose is terrestrial, spending little time in water, it has little use for fully-webbed feet. Reduced webbing allows the nene (pronounced 'neigh-neigh') to move more quickly over solid terrain, including burnt lava fields that are abundant in its native home of Hawaii.
Anyone know any other anseriforms with semipalmate feet?
Thursday, 7 July 2011
So, whose foot appears above? A couple of clues: it belongs to a dinosaur, more specifically a bird, and even more specifically, one that can be found at the London Wetland Centre. Any guesses can be submitted in the usual ways: here in the comments, or via Facebook or Twitter...