Definition of zygodactyl in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌzʌɪɡə(ʊ)ˈdaktɪl/
Pronunciation: /zɪɡə(ʊ)ˈdaktɪl/


(Of a bird’s feet) having two toes pointing forward and two backward: the cuckoo’s zygodactyl toes
More example sentences
  • Their legs are strong, and feathered in many species; they have zygodactyl raptorial feet.
  • Paleogene fossils also document diverse extinct branches of the neornithine tree, ranging from large pseudotoothed seabirds to giant flightless land birds to small zygodactyl perching birds.
  • All the small zygodactyl or semizygodactyl forms, generally from Eocene deposits, are jumbled together in the family Zygodactylidae.


A bird with zygodactyl feet.



Pronunciation: /ˌzʌɪɡə(ʊ)ˈdaktɪləs/ Pronunciation: /ˌzɪɡə(ʊ)ˈdaktɪləs/
Example sentences
  • Owls are zygodactylous: two toes face anteriorly and two toes face posteriorly.
  • The feet are zygodactylous, with two toes pointed forward and two toes pointed backward.
  • The feet of most woodpeckers are large and zygodactylous, meaning two toes point forward and two backward on each foot.


Example sentences
  • Rather than developing zygodactyly to aid running, Harris suggests that both the roadrunner and its predecessor began as tree dwellers and moved to the ground later.
  • The condition with 2 in front and 2 in back is called zygodactyly, and it's limited to a few groups, though it seems to have evolved multiple times.
  • The full spectrum of observed defects ranges from hypoplastic nails, cutaneous syndactyly, bony syndactyly, transverse reduction defects, zygodactyly, ectrodactyly, polydactyly, and brachydactyly.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: zygo|dac¦tyl

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