Last Updated on May 19, 2022 by Ali Shahid
Generally speaking, lovebirds are an interesting species of parrot that fascinate us with their strange facts. With their colorful appearance, vibrant plumage, and varied personalities, parrots are a species to look forward to if you want to observe one. In the wild, they love to fly from one tree to another, while in captivity they enjoy flying from one perch to another or from one room to another.
Additionally, you may have noticed them to be clinging to vertical surfaces as well. However, you would be surprised to find out that they climb with all 3 limbs. I know that this seems like something that you cannot imagine. In general, animals have an even number of limbs. The question is where this third limb came from.
Science has discovered that these parrots, in addition to using their right and left feet to climb on vertical surfaces, also use their mouths as the third limb for climbing. It appears that this is precisely what climbing lovebirds are doing as a result of a recent analysis of the forces they exert.
Apparently, according to a team of scientists writing in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, on Wednesday, one of the things that many parrot species (and maybe more) are doing is repurposing the muscles in their necks to walk on their beaks, making use of the same principle that rock climbers employ when they use their arms to climb.
It seems that humans have been fascinated with the triskelion motif for an inordinate amount of time, the name of which is derived from Greek and refers to “three legs” in English.
Ancient Chinese literature describes many three-legged creatures, the coat of arms of the Isle of Man, which demonstrates three human legs flexed at the knees and joined at the hips, and many more creatures that have been described much more recently.
In his incredibly popular 1898 science-fiction novel, War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells describes an invasion by three-legged Martian invaders equipped with highly advanced, three-legged war apparatus called tripods that are resembled in design to their own three-legged body form.
The truth is that even though the imagination has run wild, there are no three-legged animals living today, and there is no evidence of fossils of such creatures. Considering the incredibly long period of time throughout which life evolved, and the variety of forms it has taken, one would wonder whether a three-legged animal has ever existed at any time.
It has been suggested through various studies that an evolutionary constraint prevents organisms with an odd number of limbs from arising, as a bilaterally symmetrical body plan can only produce animals with an even number of limbs, and this evolved into the body plan that has become the norm since very early on in evolution.
Scientists are therefore of the opinion that the three-legged body plan would be a functional and perhaps advantageous body configuration, even if it is considered a “forbidden phenotype,” despite the fact that locomotion studies show that the three-legged body plan is technically feasible and even beneficial.
Apparently, Michael Granatosky finds it strange that the beak is considered a third limb, given that the third limb is considered unique in nature, a feature very rare in life on Earth. In our biology, there is this very deep, engrained notion that everything in nature is bilateral [when it comes to humans] across the majority of the animal kingdom, he noted.
It is difficult to imagine that an odd number of limbs would be able to develop for walking as a result of this situation. However, the animal community has found a way to deal with this issue.
Kangaroos are known to be able to jump slowly with their tails as their tails serve as a fifth limb since they are able to use their tails to propel their feet off the ground, just like they use their feet to propel themselves.
Melody Young, a graduate student at Dr. Granatosky’s lab, and his colleagues took six pink-faced lovebirds from a pet store to the lab and examined their use of their beaks in the same manner.
In order to determine how much force, the birds exerted and in what direction they exerted it, they got the birds to climb on a surface fitted with a sensor.
Scientists discovered that when birds shoot air through their beaks, they exert a propelling force comparable to that exerted by legs. It is difficult to imagine that with beaks as strong as their legs, what began to eat, began to become a means of transportation.
Ms. Young said that it is astounding for birds to be able to integrate their faces during their stride cycles, pointing out that their nervous systems would have to be able to adapt in order to coordinate their beak movements with the pace at which they walk.
In the study, Dr. Granatosky speculated that this ability developed in parrots because like woodpeckers and nuthatches, they are unable to jump up and down tree trunks due to their small size.
It has often been found that parrots do not push off with both legs at once when they walk, but alternate between their legs. Due to this fact, they had to come up with something else when it came to what was needed to be able to move vertically, and it needed to have what is called a three-legged effect that development biology had not been able to produce.
Another question that the researchers are attempting to answer is how many times in a day parrots take this three-pronged walk.
A study conducted by Dr. Granatosky in order to gain insight into what role the environment plays in the behavior of birds has sent students to observe the green monk parakeets that live inside the gate to a Gothic Revival-style cemetery in Brooklyn.
In spite of the fact that the results from the studies of the lovebirds and monk parakeets have not yet been published, the researcher does believe they will shed some light on the subject of how parrots were able to climb in such an unusual way and what changes they made to their anatomy to allow them to do so.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.