Oct

31

 Swifts have an amazing ability to stay aloft.

1) 'Lead researcher Anders Hendenstrom, professor of biology at Lund University, said: "It's mind-boggling that they can stair airborne for 10 months without needing to come down. "Most of the time there is a trade-off between energy use and life: live hard and die young. "But these birds live quite long, up to 20 years, so somehow they have beaten this rule."

and

2) Why come down when it is safer to stay aloft? "So, what are the main selective forces leading to such an extreme aerial lifestyle as found in swifts? One factor could be that specializing in high-altitude aerial insects as a main food source requires the suite of adaptations for efficient flight shown by swifts which compromises terrestrial locomotion and make swifts vulnerable to predators and parasites had they been landing more often. Our data suggest that even if common swifts settle to roost occasionally, which has been observed also in young swifts if the weather is bad their predominant element during the 10-month non-breeding period is up in the air."


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