Flight costs and fuel composition of a bird migrating in a wind tunnel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We studied the energy and protein balance of a Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia, a small long-distance migrant, during repeated 12-hr long Eights in a wind tunnel and during subsequent two-day fueling periods. From the energy budgets we estimated the power requirements for migratory flight in this 26 g bird at 1.91 Watts. This is low compared to flight cost estimates in birds of similar mass and with similar wing shape. This suggests that power requirements for migratory flight are lower than the power requirements for nonmigratory Eight. From excreta production during Right, and nitrogen and energy balance during subsequent fueling, the dry protein proportion of stores was estimated to be around 10%. A net catabolism of protein during migratory flight along with that of fat may reflect a physiologically inevitable process, a means of providing extra water to counteract dehydration, a production of uric acid for anti-oxidative purposes, and adaptive changes in the size of Eight muscles and digestive organs in the exercising animal.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-451
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Publication categoryResearch