I've been puzzled for some time now about why three-toed woodpeckers obviously don't need the fourth toe as the rest of the members of the order seem to benefit from having.
Searching the web, the only suggested hypothesis seems to be: "The defeat of the fourth toe may assist to deliver stronger blows, but at the cost of climbing skill."
Link to the article: http://knowledgebase.lookseek.com/Three … salis.html

This hypothesis sounds a little odd and illogical to me.
Anyone better?


interesting question and although not my area at all I was equally intrigued! I can't find anything of relevance in the scsientific literature but the link below does at least discuss possible reasons.

http://artusobirds.blogspot.co.uk/2015/ … t-toe.html