web site isn't just about bird flight! It's also about insect flight,
and bats, and pterosaurs. I've included every group of flying animals.
Check out the links to each of these flying creatures to learn more
about them. You can even compare the wings of different kinds of
animals to see the different ways they are adapted to flight. There
is also some information on how birds fly, and some fun projects
where you'll make your own flying models!
Two thirds of
all animal species can fly. Flapping-winged flight is everywhere
in nature. If you've ever wondered how birds fly, you'll find the
answers here. There is even an online
store with flying models you can build!
Q: What is
the largest bird that can fly?
A: The wandering albatross has the largest wingspan, at 3.4 meters.
The kori bustard is the heaviest flying bird. It can weigh almost
20 kg. An extinct, vulture-like bird called the giant teratorn,
Argentavis magnificens, weighed about 75 kg and had a wingspan
of 8 meters!
Q: What limits
the size of a bird?
A: The larger a bird is, the less power its muscles can produce,
in relation to their weight. That's why larger birds have to work
harder to take off, and one reason why birds aren't bigger. Also,
if a really large bird spent a lot of time flapping its wings, it
would need a huge amount of food. That's why most large birds use
soaring flight most of the time.
What's a pterosaur?
A: A pterosaur is what most people call a "pterodactyl".
Scientists actually reserve the word "pterodactyl" for
a particular group of pterosaurs.
Can a machine, robot, or aircraft fly like a bird?
A: Yes. A machine that flies like a bird is called an "ornithopter".