How many kinds of flight are there?

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There are four types of bird flight -dynamic soaring, static soaring, gliding and flapping. Soaring is similar to gliding, except that in this, a bird steers and floats on the updraft of the wind. Hawaks, eagles and vultures are all excellent soaring birds that can climb to great heights. So are storks, cranes and several other large birds. When gliding, the bird moves through the downdraft of the wind. To glide, a bird stretches its wings out, and sails along without flapping, dropping slowly toward the ground. Watch a goose or a duck dropping down into a pond. Their action is a gliding action.

Birds like the albatross and pelican use the dynamic soaring style of flying. By heading into the wind, they use the force of the moving air to carry them up. After they have attained eight, or when the speed of the wind slows down, they glide quickly downward, gaining the forward speed necessary to reach new winds. These birds live near or over the ocean where air is constantly blowing across the open water.

Flapping, however is the most common kind of flight and it uses a lot of energy. Most really fast birds uses flapping flight. This is the most complicated type of flight. All birds fly in this manner at some times, especially during take off. At this time, the hand part of the wing (the end which has primary feathers) is used to propel air backward and in this way the bird gets a forward push. While the wings appear to be going straight up and down they are really going in a some what circular fashion. When the wing is lifted and brought forward, the primary feathers separate and allow air to pass between them. On the down stroke the feathers close tightly together, forming a flat wing surface, which forces the air backward. The part of the wing nearest the body (the arm) does not move as much as the outer part (the hand), and is used by the bird as a lifting surface, in a way similar to the wing of an airplane.

Amoung birds that use a flapping flight are also the 'hoverers'.The humming bird is a hoverer and can stop in midair, flapping its wings over 50 times a second.


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