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Flight of the Hummingbird

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Sally N

on 4 June 2014

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Transcript of Flight of the Hummingbird

Flight of the Hummingbird
Adaptations for flight
The shape of the wing goes along with
Bernoulli's principle
. Thinner at the end and thicker at the beginning, and curved at the top, which creates lift for flight.
Hummingbirds are very fascinating birds. They come from the family Trochilidae, and there are about 325~340 species of hummingbirds. They are also one of the smallest birds in the world. Their body size ranges from 7.5 to 13cm, and the smallest hummingbird, the bee hummingbird, is only 5cm in length. These tiny birds come in a variety of colours, with bright and exotic coloured plumage as decorations on their feathers.
How do these amazing creatures fly? How many times do they flap their wings per second?

Read more to find out!
Hummingbirds are great fliers. They can fly forwards, backwards, sideways, up-side down, and straight-up. They can also hover in midair for a long amount of time. Combined with their streamlined bodies, they are superb fliers.
Watch this!
Because of the way they flap their wings, Hummingbirds create lift on the down stroke, but they also create some lift on the upstroke. They create 75% of the lift on the down stroke, and 25% on the upstroke. Because of this, they can change the angle of their wing and control the direction of flight, so they can quickly change direction no matter if they're on the up stroke or the down stoke.
Notice how their wings don't just flap up and down. They flap in a forward and backward motion, creating a figure eight shape.
Larger hummingbirds tend to flap slower, while smaller ones flap faster. Smaller birds flap their wings faster because of the smaller surface area to support their weight. Depending on the size of the bird, Hummingbirds flap their wings 12~100 times per second. Considering they actually flap in a figure eight motion, not up and down, that's pretty remarkable. The Ruby Throated Hummingbird can fly to distances of about 1000 kilometers.
Bernoulli's principle:
Faster moving air creates low pressure,
while slower moving air creates high pressure.
Hummingbirds have bigger hearts to efficiently pump more blood, which gives them more energy to flap their wings. Their heartbeats can reach as high as 1260 beats per minute.
Their feathers are light to reduce weight for flight, but they are also stiff and sturdy. Because of the sturdy feathers, Hummingbirds can make humming sounds if they beat their wings fast enough.
Hummingbirds' wings are narrow and tapered, which helps them flap easily and quickly.
See how they get narrower at the tips?
Hummingbirds have only 10 tail feathers, compared to 12 tail feathers on a regular bird. This reduces their weight to conserve energy while flying. The tail also helps them steer.
Count the feathers, and you'll only count 10.
Hummingbirds only live in America (North and South). They can range as far north as southern Alaska to the very bottom tip of South America. They thrive mostly in tropical and sub-tropical areas in South America.

They love forested areas with many colourful flowers to sip nectar out of. Their tiny heads and long beaks are perfect for sipping nectar out of flowers. Hummingbirds' brains are the biggest of all birds, compared to their body size. They also have great memory, they can recall any flower they fed on in the past and when it will have more nectar.
Here is a diagram indicating
the 4 forces of flight on a hummingbird.
Extra Facts
Hummingbirds can see farther and hear better then humans.
Did you know:
Hummingbirds can see ultraviolet light.
Hummingbirds have very weak feet, so weak, they can barely walk. They prefer flying.
A hummingbird's body temperature is about 41 degrees celsius.
An average sized hummingbird has about 940 feathers.
More facts!
Adaptations or Flight (cont'd)
Their bodies have a streamline shape for
better areodynamics.
Hummingbirds have a specific tail shape to steer.
They have wings that turn 180 degrees at the shoulder to create lift on the down-stroke and up-stroke.
Their bones are hollow but strong for minimal weight.
They have small feet to reduce drag and weight to
save energy.
They also have larger pectoral muscles to flap wings quickly.
Information and Image Sources
By Sally Nguyen, Grade 6
Hope you liked it!
Female hummingbirds are usually bigger than male hummingbirds.
Hummingbirds can eat anywhere from half to eight times its weight.
Full transcript