Chin’s Nature Corner

One-legged magpie robin
The one-legged Magpie Robin that I photographed on 24 November 2006. Copyright © Chin Fah Shin
The one-legged bird
SOMETIMES, something or someone turns up unexpectedly and surprises us. Recently, a one-legged bird, or rather a photo of the creature, gave me such a surprise that I laughed out loud ... mainly at myself because I had not realised that the bird was one-legged although I had photographed it myself years ago.
 While "cleaning up" and revising this website some months ago, I decided to add a page on common birds to the Photo Gallery. So I dug into my photo archive consisting of many, many skimpily labelled optical disks (CDs and DVDs) on which I had stored the digital images.
 It took me several days to wade through the disks and "pull out" the selected images, and size (or scale) them for the webpage. After laying out the page, I looked at the selected images again (this time "enlarged"). That was when I first noticed that this bird, a Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis), had only one leg. I burst out laughing. No, I cannot use that photo, I told myself, not for the page on common birds anyway.

One-legged Magpie Robin
The same, one-legged Magpie Robin photographed on 30 November 2006.
Copyright © Chin Fah Shin.
So, back to the disks to find a Magpie Robin with two legs.
 Looking in my archive again, I learned that I had shot the one-legged bird on two occasions one week apart, using a bridge camera with a long zoom lens that I owned at that time.
 How did this bird come to have only one leg? I really don't know. If I have to make a guess, I would say that it was "born with" only one leg. I don't see a leg-stump that would indicate that the limb had been snapped off by a predator, or a bird-snare, or in some kind of accident. We can be sure that the bird didn't step on a landmine.
 If indeed the bird was "born with' only one leg, imagine the extra effort and care its mother had to take to raise this baby as a nestling, and then when it became a fledgling, to teach it to fly and land properly.
 By the way, Magpie Robins do not walk (as, for example, pigeons do) but hop (e.g. as sparrows do). Still, I believe, it takes more effort and care (in balancing) to hop on one leg instead of two. Imagine what true grit and tenacity this one-legged bird had to have survived with this handicap. ~ CFS, 20 Sept 2018.

One-legged Magpie Robin
A two-legged Magpie Robin, also photographed on 30 November 2006.
Copyright © Chin Fah Shin.
This page revised on 20 September 2018. Copyright © Chin Fah Shin.