The Secret Finfoot

Masked Finfoot, Touhid biplob, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


by Inspector Barry Mins on June 14, 2022

Hey kids, welcome back to our series on the mysteries of created kinds!

This week we are going out on the water, looking for some web-footed birds.

Two by Tuesday

These birds are very uncommon, secretive, and considered endangered in many areas. There are only three species in this kind, and each is found on a different continent. They are comfortable in slow-moving water or ponds in the forests they call home, though sometimes they will leave the forest to find a place to live.1 They prefer areas with overhanging vegetation that they can hide under if threatened.2 They feed almost entirely in the water and have a broad diet.3

Nesting takes place in the overhanging vegetation of these birds’ home range, above the high-tide line.4 The eggs are incubated for less than two weeks, and when they hatch, the male will carry the chicks in special pouches under his wings.5 Males and females share the responsibility of incubating the eggs, but females do most of the incubation, only occasionally leaving the nest to feed.6

Anyone figure it out yet? This is a hard one. Between being highly secretive and largely endangered, this kind is difficult to find information on. This week’s kind is the Heliornithidae, the finfoot kind. These birds look vaguely like a cross between a duck and rail.

Try out this fun crossword!


Your clue for the next week is:

Next week we head to southeast Asia looking for one of the most colorful, ornate kinds of birds that God created.

Ask a Question

Have you ever had a question about created kinds but didn’t know who to ask? Have you ever wanted to learn more about your favorite kind? Well, now you can! You can ask me, Inspector Barry Mins, a question! Have your parents help you fill out this form, and you might get your question answered in my column! If you have any questions about created kinds, feel free to send them my way!


  1. C.R. Shepherd, “Some recent behavioural observations of Masked Finfoot Heliopais personata (Gray 1849) in Selangor Darul Ehsan, Peninsular Malaysia,” BirdingAsia 5 (2006): 69-71.
  2. A. Guzzi, L. Moura dos Santos Soares, and A. Bastos da Silva, “First record of the Sungrebe, Heliornis fulica (Boddaert, 1783) (Gruiformes, Heliornithidae), from Piauí, northeastern Brazil,” Check List 13 (2017): 411-415.
  3. Shepherd, “Some recent behavioural observations” 69-70.
  4. S.U. Chowdhury, G. Neumann-Denzau, and S. Bin Muzaffar, “Nesting ecology and habitat preference of the masked finfoot (Heliopais personatus) in Sundarbans, Bangladesh,” Waterbirds 40 (2017): 410-416.
  5. J. Ingles and D. Tauleigne, “First record of a Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica) nest in French Guiana,” Boletin SAO 20 (2011): 52-55.
  6. S.U. Chowdhury, M.D. Moniruzzaman, G. Neumann-Denzau, and M.D. Jahidul Kabir, “Observations of the breeding of the endangered Masked Finfoot Heliopais personatus in the Bangladesh Sundarbans,” Forktail 34 (2018): 65-67.