A crow that has been compared to a gorilla for its odd stance is actually sunning itself, ornithologists say.
Footage filmed in Nagoya, Japan, appears to show the animal balancing on its hulking wings which are obscuring the view of its legs.
The brawny-looking bird cocks its head from left-to-right, giving the impression it is on the lookout for a decent scrap.
But a researcher at the University of Washington has described how the crow’s behaviour has a direct link to sunny weather.
Twitter user Keitaro Simpson recorded this video of a crow that looks like a gorilla in Nagoya, Japan, earlier this week
Crow expert Kaeli Swift revealed how the bird was sunning itself with the strange posture to help preserve its feathers
The bizarre positioning of the bird has baffled social media users who have viewed the clip more than nine million times
In a Twitter thread, crow expert Kaeli Swift revealed that the bird is a large-billed crow, which accounts for its out-of-proportion head.
She went on to say the bird was exhibiting perfectly normal behaviour in sunning itself, but that the cameraman may have caught as it was changing positions which meant it appeared to be legless.
Dr Swift wrote: ‘What it’s actually doing is sunning itself. When birds sun they drop their wings and cock their tails.
‘At the right angle that could obscure the legs and tail making it look like they’re missing.
But the crow’s unusual posture caught the imagination of many on Twitter who thought it looked aggressive
‘Usually the mouth is open and the body is closer to the ground, making the behavior more obvious, but perhaps the videographer caught it in a moment of transition.
‘In any case sunning like this is a common behavior among birds. Sometimes it’s about warming up but a lot of times you’ll see them do it when it’s hot out.
‘In these cases it’s about feather care. Sun exposure can reduce feather degrading bacteria and mites.’
Dr Swift also revealed the crow could not survive losing its legs, as some have suggested, as it would prevent it from flying.
Another possible explanation for the crow’s position, suggested by Dave Slager, is that the bird is tired or hungry.
He wrote: ‘The keel looks highly pronounced here, which could indicate loss of breast muscle. Tired or hungry birds also often droop their wings down like this.’
Crow expert Kaeli Swift, from the University of Washington, believes the crow is sunning itself to look after its feathers by reducing the amount of bacteria and mites