or het·er·o·dac·tyl

[het-uh-roh-dak-tuh-luh s or het-uh-roh-dak-til]
adjective Ornithology.
  1. 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. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for heterodactyl


  1. (of the feet of certain birds) having the first and second toes directed backwards and the third and fourth forwards
  1. 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