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Gliding for a free lunch: biomechanics of foraging flight in common swifts (Apus apus).
J Exp Biol 2018; 221(Pt 22)JE

Abstract

Although the biomechanics of animal flight have been well studied in laboratory apparatus such as wind tunnels for many years, the applicability of these data to natural flight behaviour has been examined in few instances and mostly in the context of long-distance migration. Here, we used rotational stereo-videography to record the free-flight trajectories of foraging common swifts. We found that, despite their exquisite manoeuvring capabilities, the swifts only rarely performed high-acceleration turns. More surprisingly, we also found that despite feeding on tiny insects probably moving with ambient flow, the birds adjust their air speed to optimize cost of transport over distance. Finally, swifts spent only 25% of their time flapping; the majority of their time (71%) was spent in extended wing gliding, during which the average power expended for changes in speed or elevation was 0.84 W kg-1 and not significantly different from 0. Thus, gliding swifts extracted sufficient environmental energy to pay the cost of flight during foraging.

Authors+Show Affiliations

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA thedrick@bio.unc.edu emmanuel.demargerie@univ-rennes1.fr.CNRS, Université de Rennes, Normandie Univ., EthoS (Ethologie animale et humaine)-UMR 6552, F-35000 Rennes, France.CNRS, Université de Rennes, Normandie Univ., EthoS (Ethologie animale et humaine)-UMR 6552, F-35000 Rennes, France thedrick@bio.unc.edu emmanuel.demargerie@univ-rennes1.fr.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

30455382

Citation

Hedrick, Tyson L., et al. "Gliding for a Free Lunch: Biomechanics of Foraging Flight in Common Swifts (Apus Apus)." The Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 221, no. Pt 22, 2018.
Hedrick TL, Pichot C, de Margerie E. Gliding for a free lunch: biomechanics of foraging flight in common swifts (Apus apus). J Exp Biol. 2018;221(Pt 22).
Hedrick, T. L., Pichot, C., & de Margerie, E. (2018). Gliding for a free lunch: biomechanics of foraging flight in common swifts (Apus apus). The Journal of Experimental Biology, 221(Pt 22), doi:10.1242/jeb.186270.
Hedrick TL, Pichot C, de Margerie E. Gliding for a Free Lunch: Biomechanics of Foraging Flight in Common Swifts (Apus Apus). J Exp Biol. 2018 Nov 19;221(Pt 22) PubMed PMID: 30455382.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Gliding for a free lunch: biomechanics of foraging flight in common swifts (Apus apus). AU - Hedrick,Tyson L, AU - Pichot,Cécile, AU - de Margerie,Emmanuel, Y1 - 2018/11/19/ PY - 2018/06/07/received PY - 2018/09/10/accepted PY - 2018/11/21/entrez PY - 2018/11/21/pubmed PY - 2018/11/21/medline KW - Glide polar KW - Kinematics KW - Rotational stereo videography KW - Soaring KW - Thermal KW - Wind JF - The Journal of experimental biology JO - J. Exp. Biol. VL - 221 IS - Pt 22 N2 - Although the biomechanics of animal flight have been well studied in laboratory apparatus such as wind tunnels for many years, the applicability of these data to natural flight behaviour has been examined in few instances and mostly in the context of long-distance migration. Here, we used rotational stereo-videography to record the free-flight trajectories of foraging common swifts. We found that, despite their exquisite manoeuvring capabilities, the swifts only rarely performed high-acceleration turns. More surprisingly, we also found that despite feeding on tiny insects probably moving with ambient flow, the birds adjust their air speed to optimize cost of transport over distance. Finally, swifts spent only 25% of their time flapping; the majority of their time (71%) was spent in extended wing gliding, during which the average power expended for changes in speed or elevation was 0.84 W kg-1 and not significantly different from 0. Thus, gliding swifts extracted sufficient environmental energy to pay the cost of flight during foraging. SN - 1477-9145 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/30455382/Gliding_for_a_free_lunch:_biomechanics_of_foraging_flight_in_common_swifts_(Apus_apus) L2 - http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=30455382 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -