or het·er·o·dac·tyl

[ het-uh-roh-dak-tuh-luh s or het-uh-roh-dak-til ]
/ ˌhɛt ə roʊˈdæk tə ləs or ˌhɛt ə roʊˈdæk tɪl /

adjective Ornithology.

having the first and fourth toes directed backward, and the second and third forward, as in trogons.

Origin of heterodactylous

First recorded in 1850–55; hetero- + -dactylous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for heterodactyl

/ (ˌhɛtərəʊˈdæktɪl) /


(of the feet of certain birds) having the first and second toes directed backwards and the third and fourth forwards


a bird with heterodactyl feet
Compare zygodactyl
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012