A friend and I got to wondering this after observing a one legged bird hopping on the sidewalk. I have two good legs, but why would I walk if I could fly?
Flight takes up a lot of energy. If you only want to go a short distance or make frequent trips to the ground to feed/search for food then it’s much more efficient to walk.
Ask the Secretary bird.
Yes, energy. And also in enclosed spaces it’s safer. Chickadees and nuthatches can get into interesting places, although granted that’s more standing than walking.
Your "one-legged bird probably has two legs, but one is up and hidden in its belly feathers (tho during harsh freezes yes they can lose one).
If I could fly I’m sure my arms would eventually get tired, so I’d just land and walk. Or hop. Run a little, too.
The question that came to my mind when I saw the OP, was: why do some birds walk, while some birds hop? It appears, based on my long history of personal observations, that some species are walkers (crows, pigeons) and some are hoppers (jays). Whyizzat?
I think it is a lifestyle thing, birds who spend more time on the ground needthe more efficient run/walk legs, but birds that are only briefly on the ground hop, the same way they do in trees.
Because the food tends to be on the ground. Birds that eat flying insects, like swallows, don’t tend to spend much time walking.
Walkers can hop if they want to, and sometimes they do, but I think some of the hoppers are constrained by their biology to only hop and not walk. Although I am not a bird expert.
They can hop if they want to.
They can leave the flock behind.
But some birds don’t hop, and if they don’t hop,
then they’re no birds of mine!
It’s safe to hop
Oh well, it’s safe to hop
Yes, it’s safe to hop
Big Birds Don’t Fly