What Type of Wing Does that Bird Have?
Types of bird wings
There are four general wing types:
Elliptical wings are found on bats and most small forest and scrub-dwelling birds, such as robins and sparrows. These wings allow a high degree of control and manoeuvrability in confined spaces, and minimise drag to allow rapid ascent and descent. Wing beat is usually rapid. Elliptical wings are highly slotted between the primary feathers which helps to prevent stalling during sharp turns, low-speed flight, and frequent landing and takeoff.
High Speed Wings
Wings designed for speed are found on swallows, falcons, shore birds, and ducks. Birds that feed on the wing or make long migrations. The bones are relatively long, and the wings taper to a point to allow for high flight speed with low drag, and low energy consumption during flight. Because the wings are also thin, they must be flapped for short glides and during descent, and flaps are fairly rapid but small. This type of wing is aerodynamically efficient for high-speed flight but cannot easily keep a bird airborne at low speeds.
Long Soaring Wings
Terns, albatrosses, gannets, frigate birds, gulls and other sea birds tend to have longer wings for soaring. The wings have a high aspect ratio resembling those of sailplanes. The open spaces allow for long wings to create good lift with little energy expenditure. They are also adapted for high speed and dynamic soaring. However, they are less manoeuvrable than the wide, slotted wings of land soarers. Birds with this kind of wing can glide easily over large expanses of water and have exploited the sea winds.. However, the birds must usually run and take off into the wind to get off the ground, and usually land easily on water.
High-lift/Broad Soaring Wings
Broad wings which provide high lift and soaring are found on vultures, condors, hawks, ospreys, pelicans and eagles. These wings are broad and only relatively long, allowing for takeoff and landing in fairly confined areas, high lift, low speed soaring, and slow descents. Many of these birds are land soarers with good manoeuvrability required for tactic soaring in the air currents over land.
Birds are Fascinating
Birds are such fascinating creatures to learn about. From the way they have evolved and adapted to their environments, to their mating and migratory habits there is so much to learn.
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