09 December 2009

Adaptations for Flight 5

Muscles. Pectoral muscles = 15-40 % of bird's weight (vs. 1-2 % in people—Superman must have been a really strange looking dude). Another difference is that the muscle that pulls the wing back (= supercoracoidius) is attached to the sternum rather than the backbone (= better balance for flying). There are no heavy jaw and facial muscles and no heavy back muscles.

EXCRETORY SYSTEM. There is no urinary bladder.

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM. Birds eat high energy foods--there are almost no strictly vegetarian birds. They have efficient digestive enzymes.

Cedar Waxwing


  1. Hello, do you monitor this blog anymore. I am enjoying it and following your suggestions. It's a really nice thing to do.

    1. I monitor this site, but do not actively update it. If readers find serious mistakes I will either edit the post or publish their comments. Students are welcome to negotiate with their local universities if the students wish to earn academic credit through this blog, and I would be glad to assist in this endeavor.

    2. I am enjoying this website very much and making my birding more organized. Thank you very much.

    3. When I taught the course, one of the “exams” was for students to write up a natural history of a bird of their choice. That might be a good exercise for you.