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Author Topic: Can Birds Fly Upside Down ?  (Read 13071 times)

Offline neilep

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Can Birds Fly Upside Down ?
« on: 15/09/2009 21:02:06 »
Wocha Peeps !..it's done nothing but rain all day  !...I am well absorbent !


As a sheepy I of course luff to hang about upside down with my chums


As agile as I am though I can not keep up with this airomobile


An Airomobile In Australia Yesterday


Are there any birdies that can fly upside down ?..I don't mean a quick swoop but actually turn over, lay on their backs and do it bat style !


This would be good to know because I have often wondered how birds scratch their backs in flight and it would be kewl if they could just fly close to the ground and scratch their backs on the tops of trees and stuff.


hugs and Shmishes



mwah mwah mwah !


Neil
I'd like to know when I'm a sheep about town
If birdies can indeed fly themselves upside down
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Offline Chemistry4me

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Can Birds Fly Upside Down ?
« Reply #1 on: 16/09/2009 05:05:38 »
Hummingbird, for a short while.

 

Offline Don_1

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Can Birds Fly Upside Down ?
« Reply #2 on: 16/09/2009 08:32:17 »
I wish the local birds here would fly upside-down, or at least wear a nappy (US - diaper).

As C4M has pointed out, humming birds can hover upside down for short periods, but I shouldn't think any bird can, or would want, to fly upside down for any length of time. Wings don't really lend themselves to upside-down flight.

Birds don't carry excess weight, its too costly in energy for them, so they evacuate waste with considerable regularity. Flying upside-down would, to them, be a little like us popping off to the loo for quick poo and not taking off the strides first.
 

Offline LeeE

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Can Birds Fly Upside Down ?
« Reply #3 on: 16/09/2009 11:58:43 »
I believe there are a couple of problems regarding birds flying upside down, although many species, notably Tumbler Pigeons, can perform quick back-flips while in flight.

The first is that their musculature isn't symmetric and is anchored to their relatively deep ribcage, so they can't put the same force in the up-stroke as they can in the down-stroke.  This is one of the many factors that prevent humans from flying by flapping their arms: we lack a deep ribcage and while humans can exert a strong pulling or pushing force through their arms we can't exert much of a rotational force (unless we're a gymnast who specialises in the rings event).

The second is that the bird wing aerofoil, or wing cross-section, has a natural camber, meaning that the wings would less efficient and have to be used at a higher Angle of Attack to produce lift, which would result in much higher drag.

This isn't to say that birds can't loop or roll, but as with the back-flips, they're positive G maneuvers.  I've seen a bit of footage showing an eagle briefly rolling into inverted flight and pulling into a loop to show its claws to a pair of ravens that were bothering it.  It was a very nicely timed maneuver, and effective too  ;)
 

Offline Geezer

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Can Birds Fly Upside Down ?
« Reply #4 on: 16/09/2009 16:57:20 »
Would gliding count? Swallows accelerate like mad, then glide as they chase flying insects. I can't remember if they glide upside down, but I suspect they can. I'll have to pay more attention. Unfortunately, I'll not be able to report back on this until May. They already packed their bags and flew south for the winter.
 

Offline LeeE

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Can Birds Fly Upside Down ?
« Reply #5 on: 17/09/2009 12:25:11 »
I don't think you'll see a bird of any kind flying inverted in level flight, whether it's gliding or in powered flight.  As I said though, you may see one upside down if it's looping.  Swallows are a good example of this as they feed on the wing, turning sharply to stay within a localised swarm of insects; most of the time they'll be performing highly banked turns i.e. rolled through 90 degrees, but if they happened to have briefly flown upwards to catch something, and flown out through the top of the swarm, then they're likely to do a vertical roll, becoming inverted at the top of the loop, to get back down into the swarm.
 

Offline yusufmustafa

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Can Birds Fly Upside Down ?
« Reply #6 on: 14/03/2011 12:18:20 »
I recently visited Jim Corbett National Park in India. During my visit I spotted Green Bee eater and took few pictures. What I have seen that green bee eater are capable of flying upside down.
see example:
newbielink:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yusufiram/5525839308/ [nonactive]
 

Offline neilep

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Can Birds Fly Upside Down ?
« Reply #7 on: 15/03/2011 19:21:41 »
I recently visited Jim Corbett National Park in India. During my visit I spotted Green Bee eater and took few pictures. What I have seen that green bee eater are capable of flying upside down.
see example:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/yusufiram/5525839308/

Lovely photo Yusuf..

thanks for sharing it !
 

Offline imatfaal

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Can Birds Fly Upside Down ?
« Reply #8 on: 17/03/2011 15:17:21 »
 Great photos Yusuf.  Could you perhaps post one on the forum - I know some peoples corporate firewalls block flickr (not that any naked scientists would be reading the forum whilst at work of course [8D])
 

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Can Birds Fly Upside Down ?
« Reply #8 on: 17/03/2011 15:17:21 »

 

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