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Among birds, some have the feet divided into toes, while others, again, are broad and flatfooted—in others, which partake of the intermediate nature of both, the toes are divided, with a wide space between them. All birds, however, have four toes—three in front, and one on the heel; this last, however, is wanting in some that have long legs. The iynx1 is the only bird that has two toes on each side of the leg. This bird also protrudes a long tongue similar to that of the serpent, and it can turn the neck quite round and look backwards; it has great talons, too, like those of the jackdaw. Some of the heavier birds have spurs also upon the legs; but none of those have them which have crooked talons as well. The long-footed birds, as they fly, extend the legs towards the tail, while those that have short legs hold them contracted close to the middle of the body. Those authors who deny that there is any bird without feet, assert that those even which are called apodes,2 are not without them, as also the oce, and the drepanis,3 which last is a bird but very rarely seen. Serpents, too, have been seen with feet like those of the goose.

1 Or wryneck.

2 See B. x. c. 5.

3 Supposed to be the Hirundo apns of Linnæus. Of the "oce" nothing is known; indeed, the reading is very doubtful.

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load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
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