Effortless and Extreme: Frigatebirds in Flight
Research reveals incredible details about Frigatebirds and their flying abilities.
Read more on the website of Island Conservation :
A Frigatebird is a tropical seabird with an impressive 6-foot wingspan.
Its feathers are not waterproof–which is surprising for a seabird–and being unable to land on water, they have adapted astounding flying abilities.
Frigatebirds spend so much time in the air that scientists have not been able to easily study them.
In a recent study, researchers captured Frigatebirds and tagged them with satellite devices and body monitors. he birds were released, and over time the data began to take shape. he results astonished the researchers, revealing that Frigatebirds are masters of flight in ways previously unknown.
Researchers found that the Frigatebirds fly up to 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) high. This finding was surprising for a bird that lives in the tropics.
Ornithologist Henri Weimerskirch says:
There is no other bird flying so high relative to the sea surface.
What’s more, the instruments measuring the birds’ bodily functions revealed that what looked like an incredible feat was no big deal for the birds.
The birds’ heart rates indicated low physical exertion. Prompted by the surprising recordings, researchers investigated further.
They discovered that the Frigatebirds were able to fly into clouds and ride their updrafts.
It’s the only bird that is known to intentionally enter into a cloud.
Equally amazing was that the researchers recorded one of the birds flying for two months straight.
The birds can fly low over the water to snatch up fish, eating on the go.
Their incredible ability to fly without rest is also supported by a flying technique called “wing loading.”
According to the researchers, of all the birds in the world, Frigatebirds have the highest ratio of wing surface area compared to body weight.
Read the original article at NPR