Birds: Hop vs Walk
Why do some birds walk whilst others hop?
The general answer to "why" things are in nature is "because it works."
Evolution and adaptation have equipped different creatures with different
sets of characteristics that work in their environment. If we study a
creature and its environment closely we may come up with some guess as to
why a particular characteristic or behavior works well, or maybe not. More
specifically with bird locomotion, it may have to do with food gathering
techniques, body shape and size, or other factors.
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Update: June 2012