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      Mechanical power curve measured in the wake of pied flycatchers indicates modulation of parasite power across flight speeds

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      Journal of The Royal Society Interface

      The Royal Society

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          Aerodynamics of the hovering hummingbird.

          Despite profound musculoskeletal differences, hummingbirds (Trochilidae) are widely thought to employ aerodynamic mechanisms similar to those used by insects. The kinematic symmetry of the hummingbird upstroke and downstroke has led to the assumption that these halves of the wingbeat cycle contribute equally to weight support during hovering, as exhibited by insects of similar size. This assumption has been applied, either explicitly or implicitly, in widely used aerodynamic models and in a variety of empirical tests. Here we provide measurements of the wake of hovering rufous hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus) obtained with digital particle image velocimetry that show force asymmetry: hummingbirds produce 75% of their weight support during the downstroke and only 25% during the upstroke. Some of this asymmetry is probably due to inversion of their cambered wings during upstroke. The wake of hummingbird wings also reveals evidence of leading-edge vortices created during the downstroke, indicating that they may operate at Reynolds numbers sufficiently low to exploit a key mechanism typical of insect hovering. Hummingbird hovering approaches that of insects, yet remains distinct because of effects resulting from an inherently dissimilar-avian-body plan.
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            Three-dimensional kinematics of hummingbird flight.

            Hummingbirds are specialized for hovering flight, and substantial research has explored this behavior. Forward flight is also important to hummingbirds, but the manner in which they perform forward flight is not well documented. Previous research suggests that hummingbirds increase flight velocity by simultaneously tilting their body angle and stroke-plane angle of the wings, without varying wingbeat frequency and upstroke: downstroke span ratio. We hypothesized that other wing kinematics besides stroke-plane angle would vary in hummingbirds. To test this, we used synchronized high-speed (500 Hz) video cameras and measured the three-dimensional wing and body kinematics of rufous hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus, 3 g, N=5) as they flew at velocities of 0-12 m s(-1) in a wind tunnel. Consistent with earlier research, the angles of the body and the stroke plane changed with velocity, and the effect of velocity on wingbeat frequency was not significant. However, hummingbirds significantly altered other wing kinematics including chord angle, angle of attack, anatomical stroke-plane angle relative to their body, percent of wingbeat in downstroke, wingbeat amplitude, angular velocity of the wing, wingspan at mid-downstroke, and span ratio of the wingtips and wrists. This variation in bird-centered kinematics led to significant effects of flight velocity on the angle of attack of the wing and the area and angles of the global stroke planes during downstroke and upstroke. We provide new evidence that the paths of the wingtips and wrists change gradually but consistently with velocity, as in other bird species that possess pointed wings. Although hummingbirds flex their wings slightly at the wrist during upstroke, their average wingtip-span ratio of 93% revealed that they have kinematically ;rigid' wings compared with other avian species.
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              Bat flight generates complex aerodynamic tracks.

              The flapping flight of animals generates an aerodynamic footprint as a time-varying vortex wake in which the rate of momentum change represents the aerodynamic force. We showed that the wakes of a small bat species differ from those of birds in some important respects. In our bats, each wing generated its own vortex loop. Also, at moderate and high flight speeds, the circulation on the outer (hand) wing and the arm wing differed in sign during the upstroke, resulting in negative lift on the hand wing and positive lift on the arm wing. Our interpretations of the unsteady aerodynamic performance and function of membranous-winged, flapping flight should change modeling strategies for the study of equivalent natural and engineered flying devices.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of The Royal Society Interface
                J. R. Soc. Interface
                The Royal Society
                1742-5689
                1742-5662
                January 31 2018
                January 31 2018
                : 15
                : 138
                : 20170814
                Article
                10.1098/rsif.2017.0814
                © 2018

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