Birds have actually a lightweight skeleton made of greatly thin and hollow bones. The keel-shaped sternum (breastbone) is wright here the effective trip muscles attach to the body. Birds have actually a smaller sized full number of bones than mammals or reptiles. This is because many kind of of their bones have actually fprovided together making the skeleton more rigid. Birds additionally have even more neck (cervical) vertebrae than many kind of other animals; the majority of have actually 13 to 25 of these extremely flexible neck vertebrae (this helps them groom their feathers). Birds are the just vertebrate animals to have actually a fprovided collarbone dubbed the furcula or wishbone and also a keeled breastbone. Below is a diagram of a typical bird skeleton.


1) Skull 2) Cervical Vertebrae 3) Humerus 4) Second digit 5) Metacarpals 6) 4th digit 7) Third Digit 8) Radius 9) Ulna 10) Scapula 11) Synsacrum 12) Pygostyle 13) Ischium 14) Ilium 15) Pubis 16) Pelvic girdle 17) Uncinate process 18) Femur 19) Halux 20) Digits 21) Tarsometatarsus 22) Tibiotarsus 23) Keeled sternum 24) Coracoid 25) Furcula (or wishbone)

The bones

While preserving stamina, most of the bones are pneumatic, definition they are hollow and filled through air spaces connected to the respiratory device.


The bones of the skull are generally fprovided offering protection to the brain while being of light weight. A light, toothmuch less beak relocations the bony, heavy toothed jaw of reptiles. Beaks, of course, can be extremely modified for various kinds of food and also feeding behavior (see Bird Beaks). Note the huge orbits, as sight is an important sensory device for birds.


The necks of birds are exceptionally crucial for body maintenance and also eyesight. Modification for trip has actually rendered avian forelimbs nearly useless for any kind of job other than flight. To consist of for this absence of forelimb dexterity, the beak is used for many kind of jobs such as preening feathers. To accessibility hard-to-reach feathers on the earlier and tail birds require a flexible neck. Furthermore, as birds have immobile eyes, head activity and also flexibility is required to focus on objects at miscellaneous distances.

Thorax and Sternum

Overlying flaps projecting off the ribs referred to as uncinate processes help to stiffen the rib cage so it will certainly not collapse during the powerful strokes required for trip. The sternum is the highly modified breastbone. In flying and also swimming birds the keel is enlarged for flight muscle attachment. Flightmuch less birds such as Ostriches have actually a sternum without a keel.

Pectoral Girdle

The pectdental girdle is comprised of the sternum, clavicle, coracoid and scapula. The clavicles come together to create the furcula, or "wishbone". The furcula provides a versatile attachment site for the breastern muscles and also in addition to the coracoids act as struts that withstand push created by the wing stroke during trip. Flight muscles running from the sternum to the relatively short and also stiff humerus elevate and depress the wing.

Pelvic Girdle

There is an extensive fusion of bones of the pelvic area to carry out stiff assistance for the legs in order to address the anxiety of take-off and landing. The synsacrum is a blend of the pelvic and also 6 caudal (tail) vertebrae. At the end of the spinal column is the pygostyle, a combination of the final few caudal vertebrae. The pygostyle supports the tail feathers and also musculature.


The avian wing has the usual arm bones of reptiles and also mammals, however in a extremely modified create. The humerus is quite short compared to the full length of the wing, as it have to withstand the pulling of the flight muscles. The radius and ulna form the assistance for the mid-wing. The outer wing or "hand" bones are extremely fused for toughness and also feather support. The first digit or pollex supports the alula, a small feather offered to regulate air circulation approximately the wing.

Leg and Foot

The top leg is created of a reasonably standard femur, but the lower leg and foot are highly modified by fusion of bones. Of course, between the femur and also the fibula and also tibiotarsus is the knee, whose place in birds is often perplexed.

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The tarsometatarsus is a prolonged fusion of the foot bones. This lengthening adds additional leverage for running, landing and also take-off.