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Avian Flight$
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John J. Videler

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199299928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299928.001.0001

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Bird flight modes

Bird flight modes

Chapter:
(p.122) 6 Bird flight modes
Source:
Avian Flight
Author(s):

John J. Videler

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299928.003.0006

Birds are pilot and aircraft in one. Experiments using kestrels kept as falconry birds and flown under controlled conditions indoors to investigate flight strategies are discussed. The effects of distance and body mass on the flight plan and kinematics from take-off, through cruising stage to landing, are shown. Separate paragraphs treat average wing beat kinematics during steady flight in 3-D and provide details occurring during single wing beats. The existence of general kinematic rules applicable to birds is disputed. Hovering and windhovering techniques are described in detail. Energy saving flight modes (intermittent and formation flight, hang-gliding, dynamic-, gust- and thermal-soaring, sweeping flight) are explained and discussed. The limited detailed knowledge of manoeuvring flight is summarized. The airspeeds of free flying birds are difficult to estimate, most species cruise between 6 and 16 m/s; speeds are not dominated by size.

Keywords:   flight strategies, distance, body mass, kinematics, wing beat, hovering, windhovering, energy saving, manoeuvring, speed

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