How food may influence flight

In our latest Feather Fascination, Jim Butler introduces us to the Hoatzin, a bird (or is it a flying cow?) from the Amazon Basin.

Jim points out that the Hoatzin is a true herbivore, but this comes at a cost due to the energy which the bird must expend in order to digest its purely plant diet.

On the other hand, a bird much closer to our own homeland manages the demands of its strictly herbivorous diet very well.

Click here to learn how the physiology of the Australian Wood Duck has evolved to balance the energy required for intensive digestion with the effort it must expend for flight.

And learn more about the very unusual Hoatzin!

Male Australian Wood Duck - Photo courtesy of Ed Frazer