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Encyclopedia > Bird flight

Flight is the main mode of locomotion used by most of the world's bird species. It is important to birds for feeding, breeding and avoiding predators. In biology and physics, animal locomotion is the study of how animals move, and is part of biophysics. ... “Aves” redirects here. ... A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk eating a California Vole In ecology, predation describes a biological interaction where a predator organism feeds on another living organism or organisms known as prey. ...

Contents

Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2576x1442, 1157 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Bird flight Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/Aquila spinogaster Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/September-2006 Introduction to evolution Talk... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2576x1442, 1157 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Bird flight Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/Aquila spinogaster Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/September-2006 Introduction to evolution Talk... Binomial name Hieraaetus spilogaster (Bonaparte, 1850) The African Hawk Eagle (Hieraaetus spilogaster) is a large bird of prey. ...

Basic mechanics of bird flight

The lift force has both a forward and a vertical component.

The fundamentals of bird flight are similar to those of aircraft. Lift force is produced by the action of air flow on the wing, which is an airfoil. The lift force occurs because the air has a lower pressure just above the wing and higher pressure below. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (876x392, 20 KB) Summary Drawn and uploaded by Jmcc150 Licensing File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (876x392, 20 KB) Summary Drawn and uploaded by Jmcc150 Licensing File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Look up aircraft in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The lift force, lifting force or simply lift is a mechanical force generated by a solid object moving through a fluid. ... A Laughing Gull with its wings extended in a gull wing profile Aircraft wing planform shapes: a swept wing KC-10 Extender (top) refuels a trapezoid-wing F/A-22 Raptor A wing is a surface used to produce lift and therefore flight, for travel in the air or another... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Air pressure can refer to: Atmospheric pressure, the pressure of air environmentally Pressure of air in a system Category: ...


When gliding, both birds and gliders obtain both a vertical and a forward force from their wings. This is possible because the lift force is generated at right angles to the air flow, which in level flight comes from slightly below the wing. The lift force therefore has a forward component. (Weight always acts vertically downwards and so cannot provide a forward force. Without a forward component, a gliding bird would merely descend vertically, exactly as a parachute does). A modern glider crossing the finish line of a competition at high speed. ... Gliders or Sailplanes are heavier-than-air aircraft primarily intended for unpowered flight. ... The Apollo 15 capsule landed safely despite a parachute failure. ...

Forces acting on a wing

When a bird flaps, as opposed to gliding, its wings continue to develop lift as before, but they also create an additional forward and upward force, thrust, to counteract its weight and drag. Flapping involves two stages: the down-stroke, which provides the majority of the thrust, and the up-stroke, which can also (depending on the bird's wings) provide some upward force. At each up-stroke the wing is slightly folded inwards to reduce upward resistance. Birds change the angle of attack between the up-stroke and the down-stroke of their wings. During the down-stroke the angle of attack is increased, and is decreased during the up-stroke. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (876x392, 20 KB) Summary Drawn and uploaded by Jmcc150 Licensing File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (876x392, 20 KB) Summary Drawn and uploaded by Jmcc150 Licensing File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Thrust is a reaction force described quantitatively by Newtons Second and Third Laws. ... A spring scale measures the weight of an object In the physical sciences, weight is a measurement of the gravitational force acting on an object. ... An object falling through a gas or liquid experiences a force in direction opposite to its motion. ... In this diagram, the black arrow represents the direction of the wind. ...


There are three major forces that impede a bird's aerial flight: frictional drag (caused by the friction of air and body surfaces), form drag (due to frontal area of the bird, also known as pressure drag), and lift-induced drag (caused by the wingtip vortices). In Aerodynamics, skin friction is the component of parasitic drag arising from the friction of the fluid against the skin of the object that is moving through it. ... In aerodynamics, form drag, profile drag, or pressure drag, is a component of parasitic drag. ... In aerodynamics, lift-induced drag, induced drag, or sometimes drag due to lift, is a drag force which occurs whenever a lifting body or a wing of finite span generates lift. ... Wingtip vortices stream from an F-15E as it disengages from a KC-10 Extender following midair refueling. ...


The wing

The bird's forelimbs, the wings, are the key to bird flight. Each wing has a central vane to hit the wind, composed of three limb bones, the humerus, ulna and radius. The hand, or manus, which ancestrally was composed of five digits, is reduced to three digits (digit II, III and IV), the purpose of which is to serve as an anchor for the primaries (or metacarpo-digitals), one of two groups of feathers responsible for the airfoil shape. The other set of flight feathers that are behind the carpal joint on the ulna, are called the secondaries or cubitals. The remaining feathers on the wing are known as coverts, of which there are three sets. The wing sometimes has vestigial claws, in most species these are lost by the time the bird is adult (such as the highly visible ones used for active climbing by Hoatzin chicks), but claws are retained into adulthood by the Secretary Bird, the screamers, finfoot, ostriches, several swifts and numerous others, as a local trait, in a few specimens. The claws of the Jurassic therapod-like archaeopteryx are quite similar to those of the hoatzin nestlings. A forelimb is an anterior limb on an animals body. ... A Laughing Gull with its wings extended in a gull wing profile Aircraft wing planform shapes: a swept wing KC-10 Extender (top) refuels a trapezoid-wing F/A-22 Raptor A wing is a surface used to produce lift and therefore flight, for travel in the air or another... The humerus is a long bone in the arm or fore-legs (animals) that runs from the shoulder to the elbow. ... The ulna (Elbow Bone) [Figs. ... Circle illustration In classical geometry, a radius (plural: radii) of a circle or sphere is any line segment from its center to its boundary. ... Remiges are a birds flight feathers which are attached to the rear portion of the wing bones. ... Two feathers Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds. ... The ulna (Elbow Bone) [Figs. ... Binomial name Ophisthocomus hoazin (Muller, 1776) The Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) is an odd species of tropical bird which is found in the swamps associated with the Amazon and Orinoco rivers of South America. ... Binomial name Sagittarius serpentarius (Miller,JF, 1779) The Secretary Bird, Sagittarius serpentarius, is an extraordinary member of the bird of prey family. ... Genera Anhima Chauna The Screamers are a small family of birds, the Anhimidae. ... Genera and Species Podica senegalensis Heliopais personata Heliornis fulica The Heliornithidae are a small family of tropical birds with webbed lobes on their feet similar to those of grebes and coots. ...


Wing shape and flight

A male Mallard in flight.
A male Mallard in flight.

The shape of the wing is an important factor in determining the types of flight of which the bird is capable. Different shapes correspond to different trade-offs between beneficial characteristics, such as speed, low energy use, and maneuverability. The planform of the wing (the shape of the wing as seen from below) can be described in terms of two parameters, aspect ratio and wing loading. Aspect ratio is the ratio of wing breadth to the mean of its chord, or mean wingspan divided by wing area. Wing loading is the ratio of weight to wing area. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1440x960, 205 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Flight Mallard User talk:Fir0002 Wikipedia:Featured pictures thumbs 06 User:Fir0002/Natures pics Nature photography Wikipedia:Featured... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1440x960, 205 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Flight Mallard User talk:Fir0002 Wikipedia:Featured pictures thumbs 06 User:Fir0002/Natures pics Nature photography Wikipedia:Featured... A planform or plan view is a vertical orthographic projection of an object on a horizontal plane, like a map. ... The low aspect ratio wing of a Piper PA-28 Cherokee In aerodynamics, the aspect ratio is an airplanes wings span divided by its standard mean chord (SMC). ... In aerodynamics, wing loading is the loaded weight of the aircraft divided by the area of the wing. ... Cross section of an airfoil showing chord In reference to aircraft, chord refers to the distance between the front and back of a wing, measured in the direction of the normal airflow. ... The distance AB is the wing span of this Aer Lingus Airbus A320. ...


Most kinds of bird wing can be grouped into four types, with some falling between two of these types. These types of wings are elliptical wings, high speed wings, high aspect ratio wings and soaring wings with slots.


Elliptical wings

Elliptical wings are short and rounded, having a low aspect ratio, allowing for tight maneuvering in confined spaces such as might be found in dense vegetation. As such they are common in forest raptors (such as Accipiter hawks), and many passerines, particularly non-migratory ones (migratory species have longer wings). They are also common in species that use a rapid take off to evade predators, such as pheasants and partridges. The genus Accipiter is a group of birds of prey in the family Accipitridae. ... Families Many, see text A passerine is a bird of the giant order Passeriformes. ... Genera Ithaginis Catreus Rheinartia Crossoptilon Lophura Argusianus Pucrasia Syrmaticus Chrysolophus Phasianus † See also partridge, quail Pheasants are a group of large birds in the order Galliformes. ... Genera Perdix Alectoris Lerwa Bambusicola Ptilopachus Rollulus Haematortyx Caloperdix Arborophila Xenoperdix Melanoperdix †See also Pheasant, Quail, Grouse Partridges are birds in the pheasant family, Phasianidae. ...


High speed wings

High speed wings are short, pointed wings that when combined with a heavy wing loading and rapid wingbeats provide an energetically expensive high speed. This type of flight is used by the bird with the fastest wing speed, the peregrine falcon, as well as by most of the ducks. The same wing shape is used by the auks for a different purpose; auks use their wings to "fly" underwater. The Peregrine Falcon has the highest recorded dive speed of 175 mph (282 Km/h). The fastest straight, powered flight is the Spine-tailed Swift at 105 mph (170 Km/h). Binomial name Falco peregrinus Tunstall, 1771 Global range (shaded green, dark dots on islands) The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), occasionally known in North America as the Duck Hawk, is a medium-sized falcon about the size of a large crow: 380-530 millimetres (15-21 in) long. ... Subfamilies Dendrocygninae Oxyurinae Anatinae Aythyinae Merginae Duck is the common name for a number of species in the Anatidae family of birds. ... Genera Uria Alle Alca Pinguinus Synthliboramphus Cepphus Brachyramphus Ptychoramphus Aethia Cerorhinca Fratercula Extinct genera, see Systematics Auks are birds of the family Alcidae in the order Charadriiformes. ... Binomial name (Latham, 1802) The White-throated Needletail (Hirundapus caudacutus), also known as Needle-tailed Swift or Spine-tailed Swift, is a large swift. ...


Soaring wings with deep slots

These are the wings favored by the larger species of inland birds, such as eagles, vultures, pelicans, and storks. The slots at the end of the wings, between the primaries, reduce the turbulence at the tips, whilst the shorter size of the wings aids in takeoff (high aspect ratio wings require a long taxi in order to get airborne). Genera Several, see below. ... Orders Falconiformes (Fam. ... Species Pelecanus occidentalis Pelecanus thagus Pelecanus erythrorhynchos Pelecanus onocrotalus Pelecanus crispus Pelecanus rufescens Pelecanus philippensis Pelecanus conspicillatus A pelican is any of several very large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak belonging to the bird family Pelecanidae. ... Genera See text. ... In fluid dynamics, turbulence or turbulent flow is a flow regime characterized by chaotic, stochastic property changes. ... Taxiing refers to an airplane moving under its own power on the ground, usually on wheels, but also includes aircraft with skis or floats (for water-based travel). ...


Hovering

Hovering is a demanding but useful ability used by several species of birds (and specialized in by one family). Hovering, literally generating lift through flapping alone rather than as a product of thrust, demands a lot of energy. This means that it is confined to smaller birds; the largest bird able to truly hover is the pied kingfisher, although larger birds can hover for small periods of time. Larger birds that hover do so by flying into a headwind, allowing them to utilize thrust to fly slowly but remain stationary to the ground (or water). Kestrels, terns and even hawks use this windhovering. A cubical magnet levitating over a superconducting material (this is known as the Meissner effect). ... Binomial name Ceryle rudis (Linnaeus, 1758) The Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) is a kingfisher in the near passerine bird family Cerylidae, the water kingfishers. ...

The ruby-throated Hummingbird can beat its wings 52 times a second
The ruby-throated Hummingbird can beat its wings 52 times a second

Most birds that hover have high aspect ratio wings that are suited to low speed flying. One major exception to this are the hummingbirds, which are among the most accomplished hoverers of all the birds. Hummingbird flight is different to other bird flight in that the wing is extended throughout the whole stroke, the stroke being a symmetrical figure of eight, with the wing being an airfoil in both the up- and down-stroke. Some hummingbirds can beat their wings 52 times a second, though others do so less frequently. ImageMetadata File history File links Rubythroathummer65. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Rubythroathummer65. ... Binomial name Archilochus colubris (Linnaeus, 1758) The Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Archilochus colubris, is a small hummingbird. ... Subfamilies Phaethornithinae Trochilinae For a taxonomic list of genera, see: List of hummingbirds in taxonomic order For an alphabetic species list, see: Alphabetic species list Hummingbirds are small birds in the family Trochilidae, native only to the Americas. ...


Take-off and landing

Take-off can be one of the most energetically demanding aspects of flight, as the bird needs to generate enough airflow under the wing to create lift. In small birds a jump up will suffice, while for larger birds this is simply not possible. In this situation, birds need to take a run up in order to generate the airflow to take off. Large birds often simplify take off by facing into the wind, and, if they can, perching on a branch or cliff so that all they need to do is drop off into the air.


Landing is also a problem for many large birds with high airspeeds. This problem is dealt with in some species by aiming for a point below the intended landing area (such as a nest on a cliff) then pulling up beforehand. If timed correctly, the airspeed once the target is reached is virtually nil. Landing on water is simpler, and the larger waterfowl species prefer to do so whenever possible. This article contains information that has not been verified and thus might not be reliable. ... A basket style nest A nest is place of refuge built to hold an animals eggs and/or provide a place to raise their offspring. ...


Adaptations for flight

1 Axillaries; 2 Margin (Marginal underwing coverts); 3 Lesser underwing coverts; 4 Median underwing coverts (Secondary coverts); 5 Greater underwing coverts (Secondary coverts); 6 Carpal joint; 7 Lesser underwing primary coverts; 8 Greater undering primary coverts; 9 Secondaries; 10 Primaries

The most obvious adaptation to flight is the wing, but because flight is so energetically demanding birds have evolved several other adaptations to improve efficiency when flying. Birds's bodies are streamlined to help overcome air-resistance. Also,the bird skeleton is hollow to reduce weight, and many unnecessary bones have been lost (such as the bony tail of the early bird Archaeopteryx), along with the toothed jaw of early birds, which has been replaced with a lightweight beak. The skeleton's breastbone has also adapted into a large keel, suitable for the attachment of large, powerful flight muscles. The vanes of the feathers have hooklets called barbules that zip them together, giving the feathers the strength needed to hold the airfoil (these are often lost in flightless birds). Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... It has been suggested that keel (bird) be merged into this article or section. ... Binomial name Meyer, 1861 Synonyms See below Archaeopteryx (from Ancient Greek archaios meaning ancient and pteryx meaning feather or wing; pronounced ) is the earliest and most primitive known bird to date. ... The beak, bill or rostrum is an external anatomical structure of birds which, in addition to eating, is used for grooming, manipulating objects, killing prey, probing for food, courtship, and feeding their young. ... Two feathers Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds. ... Barbules are a part of the tree formed by feathers : the trunk, or axis, being the rachis and the barbs the main boughs, barbules are the secondary branches. ... Flightless birds evolved from flying ancestors; there are about forty species in existence today. ...


The large amounts of energy required for flight have led to the evolution of a unidirectional pulmonary system to provide the large quantities of oxygen required for their high respiration rates. This high metabolic rate produces large quantities of radicals in the cells that can damage DNA and lead to tumours. Birds, however, do not suffer from an otherwise expected shortened lifespan as their cells have evolved a more efficient antioxidant system than those found in other animals. External anatomy of a typical bird 1 Beak, 2 Head, 3 Iris, 4 Pupil, 5 Mantle, 6 Lesser coverts, 7 Scapulars, 8 Coverts, 9 Tertials, 10 Rump, 11 Primaries, 12 Vent, 13 Thigh, 14 Tibio-tarsal articulation, 15 Tarsus, 16 Feet, 17 Tibia, 18 Belly, 19 Flanks, 20 Breast, 21... The respiration rate is a parameter which is used in ecological and agronomical modelling. ... A few of the metabolic pathways in a cell. ... In chemistry, radicals (often referred to as free radicals) are atomic or molecular species with unpaired electrons on an otherwise open shell configuration. ...


See also

The Dragonfly Insect flight, In the past several million years, flying insects have evolved with amazing flight characteristics and abilities. ... This is a list of types of soaring birds, which are birds that can maintain flight without wing flapping, using rising air currents. ... A number of animals have evolved aerial locomotion, either by powered flight or by gliding. ...

References

  • Del Hoyo, Josep, et al. Handbook of Birds of the World Vol 1. 1992. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, ISBN 84-87334-10-5.
  • Brooke, Michael and Tim Birkhead (editors). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Ornithology. 1991. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-36205-9.
  • Campbell, Bruce, and Elizabeth Lack (editors). A Dictionary of Birds. 1985. Calton: T&A D Poyse. ISBN 0-85661-039-9.
  • Wilson, Barry (editor). Readings from Scientific American, Birds. 1980. San Francisco: WH Freeman. ISBN 0-7167-1206-7.
  • Alexander, David E. Nature's Flyers: Birds, Insects, and the Biomechanics of Flight. 2002(hardcover) and 2004(paperback). Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-6756-8(hardcover) and 0801880599(paperback).
  • Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology handbook of bird biology. 2004(hardcover). Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-938-02762-x(hardcover).

External links

  • 'Flight in Birds and Aeroplanes' by Evolutionary Biologist John Maynard Smith Freeview video provided by the Vega Science Trust
  • 'Pigeon Take off in slow motion' You Tube video
  • 'Bird Flight I' Eastern Kentucky University ornithology course site, with pictures, text and videos.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Bird flight - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1602 words)
Flight is more energetically expensive in larger birds, and many of the largest species fly by soaring (gliding without flapping their wings) most of the time.
The bird's forelimbs, the wings, are the key to bird flight.
Hummingbird flight is different to other bird flight in that the wing is extended throughout the whole stroke, the stroke being a symmetrical figure of eight, with the wing being an airfoil in both the up- and down-stroke.
Avian Flight (709 words)
It is this first bird and its closest relatives that we must consider when discussing the origin of flight in birds, because later birds are more modified in structure, and hence are inaccurate models for understanding the origin of flight in the avian lineage.
In support of Archaeopteryx as one of the model ancestral birds, there is a line of later transitional forms during the Cretaceous period — forms such as Confuciusornis and Sinornis that show the rapid evolution of flight in birds, quickly approaching the structure seen in most modern flying birds.
Birds showed a gradual increase in flying ability during their early evolution —; Archaeopteryx was not a powerful flyer, but it seems it was not much of a glider either.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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