L> Nature: Birds" weight much less than most would believe
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You are watching: How much does a bird weigh
Nature: Birds" weight less than most would believe Sunday, April 28, 2002By Scott Shalaway The human body weights that birds space not miscellaneous I have cataloged in my short term memory, yet I know that birds weigh much less than most world suspect. A recent e-mail reminded me of this.A reader commented that the turkey vultures roosting close to her residence weighed in between "10 and also 15 pounds." i knew the was high, but I had actually to check a monograph in my library entitled, human body Weights that 686 species of phibìc American Birds. Before I expose a turkey vulture"s typical weight, take a guess. Imagine among these huge birds soaring overhead. What execute you think one weighs?The median weight of 20 Florida turkey vultures listed in the monograph is a only 3.2 pounds. Another source reports turkey vultures weigh as much as 5 pounds.Using the monograph together the data source, here"s a list of median weights for some typical birds: masculine trumpeter swan, 26 pounds; male wild turkey, 16.3 pounds; female fully eagle, 11.5 pounds; male great blue heron, 5.7 pounds; female an excellent horned owl, 3.4 pounds; mrs red-tailed hawk, 2.7 pounds; mallard duck, 2.4 pounds; masculine ruffed grouse, 1.4 pounds; absent dove (common pigeon), 1.2 pounds; American crow, 15.8 ounces; pileated woodpecker, 10.8 ounces; bobwhite, 6.3 ounces; mourning dove, 4.2 ounces; killdeer, 3.4 ounces; blue jay, 3.1 ounces; American robin, 2.7 ounces; hairy woodpecker, 2.3 ounces; male red-winged blackbird, 2.2 ounces; northern cardinal, 1.5 ounces; Baltimore oriole, 1.2 ounces; east bluebird, 1.1 ounces; downy woodpecker,27 grams (28.35 grams equals 1 ounce); tufted titmouse,21.5 grams; Carolina wren, 21.5 grams; dark-eyed junco, 19.6 grams; American gtasiilaq.netfinch, 13 grams; residence wren, 11 grams; black-capped chickadee, 10.8 grams; yellow warbler, 9.5 grams; ruby-throated hummingbird, 3.2 grams.I doubt these numbers will certainly surprise some readers. Birds look so lot bigger, especially on a ctasiilaq.net winter day. Yet birds deserve to fluff their feathers come stay heat when temperatures drop.Compared to mammals of comparable size, birds sweet surprisingly little. A chickadee, for example, is about the exact same size as a deer mouse, however it weighs only a 3rd as much. And also a downy woodpecker and also chipmunk are about the very same size, however a chippie can weigh four times as lot as a downy. Since birds fly, they should be light.Birds are defined in big part by a selection of weight-reducing adaptations the promote flight. They lack teeth and associated hefty jaws. Their respiratory system contains a network that branching air sacs. They excrete focused urine undiluted by big amounts the water. Furthermore, birds lack a urinary bladder, therefore they are never ever burdened with a heavy organ filled v liquid waste. By expelling waste frequently (ever been about a chicken coop?), birds additional minimize body weight.Birds" sexual organs atrophy throughout the nonbreeding season. Why migrate or overwinter v nonfunctional gonads? their digestion is rapid and also efficient, so food doesn"t stay lengthy in the gut. Your bodies room covered through lightweight, aerodynamic feathers. And perhaps many important, bird skeletons consist largely of thin hollow bones.Though feathers are certainly lightweight, their sheer number contributes considerably to a bird"s full weight. Counts that the contour feathers the cover a bird"s body range from 940 because that a ruby-throated hummingbird to 25,216 for a tundra swan. Top top average, a bird"s feathers weigh 2 to 3 times as lot as its skeleton. A outright eagle"s feathers, because that example, weigh around 17 percent the its complete mass; the skeleton weighs only about 7 percent of its mass.And even throughout the nesting season, female track birds store their weight to a minimum by manufacturing only one egg every day. Bigger birds take 2 days or longer to do an egg. Consequently, a woman bird never flies around with whole clutch of eggs within its body.So if you view a yes, really fat robin this spring, it"s not since she"s pregnant. And she"s probably not really even fat. She"s just fluffing she feathers to preen or continue to be warm.
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