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Metabolic constraints on long-distance migration in birds

Klaassen, Marcel 1996, Metabolic constraints on long-distance migration in birds, Journal of experimental biology, vol. 199, no. 1, pp. 57-64.

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Title Metabolic constraints on long-distance migration in birds
Author(s) Klaassen, MarcelORCID iD for Klaassen, Marcel
Journal name Journal of experimental biology
Volume number 199
Issue number 1
Start page 57
End page 64
Total pages 8
Publisher The Company of Biologists Limited
Place of publication Cambridge, Eng.
Publication date 1996-01
ISSN 0022-0949
Keyword(s) Allometric relationships
Flight altitude
Fuel stores
Time minimization
Water balance
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Life Sciences & Biomedicine - Other Topics
Summary The flight range of migrating birds depends crucially on the amount of fuel stored by the bird prior to migration or taken up en route at stop-over sites. However, an increase in body mass is associated with an increase in energetic costs, counteracting the benefit of fuel stores. Water imbalance, occurring when water loss exceeds metabolic water production, may constitute another less well recognised problem limiting flight range. The main route of water loss during flight is via the lungs; the rate of loss depends on ambient temperature, relative humidity and ventilatory flow and increases with altitude. Metabolite production results in an increased plasma osmolality, also endangering the proper functioning of the organism during flight. Energetic constraints and water-balance problems may interact in determining several aspects of flight behaviour, such as altitude of flight, mode of flight, lap distance and stop-over duration. To circumvent energetic and water-balance problems, a bird could migrate in short hops instead of long leaps if crossing of large ecological barriers can be avoided. However, although necessitating larger fuel stores and being more expensive, migration by long leaps may sometimes be faster than by short hops. Time constraints are also an important factor in explaining why soaring, which conserves energy and water, occurs exclusively in very large species: small birds can soar at low speeds only. Good navigational skills involving accurate orientation and assessment of altitude and air and ground speed assist in avoiding physiological stress during migration.
Language eng
Field of Research 060603 Animal Physiology - Systems
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©1996, The Company of Biologists Limited
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