• Categories

  • Most Popular Questions

  • Recently Viewed Questions

  • Recent Answers

    How To Make a Digita… on What does a frequency of 100 H…
    Daigrepont on Can an earthquake cause air tu…
    Benedict on How did God come into exi…
    joshua on How does the human body g…
    Ian on How did God come into exi…
  • Recent Questions

  • Blog Stats

    • 2,220,198 hits
  • Visitors since 11-3-08

    counter create hit
  • Terms and Conditions

  • Warning

    We are doing maintenance on this site, so some posts may disappear for a short time. Sorry. Normal service will soon be resumed...
  • Pages

  • February 2008
    M T W T F S S
        Mar »
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    2526272829  
  • Archives

  • Meta

Why do some birds have longer tails than others?

Why do some birds have longer tails than others?
Nigel Eady from Greater London (age 25-34)

Advertisements

One Response

  1. It partly depends on the birds’ lifestyle and method of feeding, as well as predators. You can work this put partly from tail and wing feathers.
    Some longer tails work to help balance and help certain types of manoeuvrability – a question of aerodynamics which could be seen in some of the bizarre early gilders and aeroplanes. You’ll see the same principle in pursuit predators like cheetahs that use the tail for steering and balance at speed. I’ve seen injured birds with no tail feathers (perhaps escaped from cats) which cannot control themselves in the air. I’m always impressed by the length of magpie tails and their jack of all trades flight.

    Tail flicks and flashing feather colours also work well in a display or warning to rivals or fellow birds – think of all the strutting birds you’ve seen on birds like moorhens for example.

    Watch landing ducks and other water birds and you’ll see both feet and tail spread and angled furiously to control their descent speed and direction, used as air brakes and in a style reminiscent of showy parachutists.

    Peacocks like many other birds which display to gain a mate have long elaborate tails for display (and not very functional tails for flight ), with peacocks at great risk of getting dew and tail heavy and becoming tiger food! (The ones here at Newquay Zoo roost temptingly along the cat enclosure barriers and trees). This great biological exuberance is supposedly a sign of a healthy and vigorous male. Size isn’t everything to a female – females also look for symmetry, size and perfection (as well as some excellent song and dance routines). Birds of paradise and Lyre birds are equally impressive in the tail department!

    Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: