5 facts about bird flight

Image by Liselotte Brunner from Pixabay

1. Weighty wings
Around a third of a bird’s body weight is made up of the large wing muscles. These are the machines that power flight, keeping the bird airborne for large periods of time.

2. In a flap
Flapping is one of the most common flying methods, but it uses the most energy. Some birds alternate between flapping and gliding to conserve energy.

3. Hitching a ride
Taking advantage of the rising air thermals and updrafts, some birds soar in a circle around these areas to lift them higher, with minimal energy expended.

Frigatebirds can shut down one hemisphere of the brain as they fly, keeping the other alert and connected to their eyes to avoid obstacles (Image by Marcus DeMaaijer from Pixabay)

4. Mid-flight naps
Studies found that some birds can sleep while flying. Measuring electrical energy in the brains of great frigatebirds, results showed that they sleep in ten-second bursts during migration.

5. Furthest flyers
The Arctic tern has the longest migration of all the birds; over 80,000 kilometres a year. In their  lifetime of around 30 years, their total flight distance is equal to three trips to the Moon and back.


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