Swifts Fly For Ten Months Without Landing

Posted: Oct 28 2016, 5:41am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Swifts Fly for Ten Months Without Landing
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  • Common Swifts can fly up to 10 months without a break
 

Researchers found the birds remain airborne for 99% of the time on their annual trip while a few don’t land at all

The birds Common Swifts (Apus apus) were always suspected of flying for long distances without breaks but their actual flying capabilities are greater than ever imagined.

Scientists have found Common Swifts can spend even 10 months flying without landing at all. This might the longest flight record ever listed. Researchers observed the long flight of these birds from Scandinavia all through central Africa.

The observations were published in the journal Current Biology.

Common Swifts, the tiny bird only weighing 40 grams, have been suspected of covering long distances since the early 1960s. In the current observational study scientists attached tags on 13 of these birds to record their flight.

The tags were made up of tiny data loggers and accelerometers. The team tracked these birds throughout many seasons. Some were even tracked up till they reached their breeding ground of Sweden.

Common Swifts were found to remain in flight 99% of their time. Some of the birds took brief breaks by landing at night. However three of the birds being monitored didn’t touch down on the ground even once during their entire 10 month journey. 

Even the bodies of the Common Swift have evolved to make them very efficient flyers. These birds have streamlined body shapes along with long and narrow wings. Not surprisingly the birds even feed themselves while in flight.

The Common Swifts can snatch flying termites, ballooning spiders and other aerial insects while airborne to eat. The birds have also adapted towards a low-energy lifestyle.

However the research team still does not know if the birds sleep while airborne. If tracking devices had not been created these birds would have remained a mystery. 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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