Why do some birds hop and others run?

Why hop or bounce when you have wings, that's what we want to know...

5th December 2015
Why do some birds hop and others run? © Getty

Asked by: Hugh Allen, Somerset

Almost all birds are capable of doing both, but it’s normally more energy efficient for small birds to move by hopping. Their light bodies are easy to bounce into the air and they cover much more distance in a single hop than a walking stride from their short legs.

For heavier birds, the extra load on their joints favours a gait that leaves one leg on the ground at all times. Plus, longer legs make walking faster. Birds 
that spend most of their time in trees are also more likely to hop because they mainly get around by jumping from branch to branch.


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