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Dec 15, 2008

Analysis reveals that the difference between the speed of small and large birds is not as great as expected; they suggest that this surprising result is likely to be the result of disadvantages associated with very slow speeds among smaller birds and with very fast speeds for larger birds. They also show that the evolutionary history of the species helps explain much of the variation in flight speed: species of the same group tend to fly at similar characteristic speeds. For example, birds of prey and herons had slow flight speeds, on average, given their mass and wing loading, whereas the average speed for songbirds and shorebirds was faster than would be predicted.

This study suggests that there are different functional adaptations affecting flight differently among different types of bird, and that there exists a diversity of cruising flight characteristics among birds that remain to be explored and understood.

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Posted: Monday December 15, 2008, 5:28 am
Tags: nature [add/edit tags]

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