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Hovering hummingbird wing aerodynamics during the annual cycle. I. Complete wing.


ABSTRACT: The diverse hummingbird family (Trochilidae) has unique adaptations for nectarivory, among which is the ability to sustain hover-feeding. As hummingbirds mainly feed while hovering, it is crucial to maintain this ability throughout the annual cycle-especially during flight-feather moult, in which wing area is reduced. To quantify the aerodynamic characteristics and flow mechanisms of a hummingbird wing throughout the annual cycle, time-accurate aerodynamic loads and flow field measurements were correlated over a dynamically scaled wing model of Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna). We present measurements recorded over a model of a complete wing to evaluate the baseline aerodynamic characteristics and flow mechanisms. We found that the vorticity concentration that had developed from the wing's leading-edge differs from the attached vorticity structure that was typically found over insects' wings; firstly, it is more elongated along the wing chord, and secondly, it encounters high levels of fluctuations rather than a steady vortex. Lift characteristics resemble those of insects; however, a 20% increase in the lift-to-torque ratio was obtained for the hummingbird wing model. Time-accurate aerodynamic loads were also used to evaluate the time-evolution of the specific power required from the flight muscles, and the overall wingbeat power requirements nicely matched previous studies.

SUBMITTER: Achache Y 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5579086 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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