What it takes to fly

sometimes, it takes less than one might think! A Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix cornix) recently got in front of my camera at the Berlin Zoo. I took several shots of the head, then it fluttered off a few meters, and I took a few full-body shots.

And then, by pure chance I happened to catch it in mid-air, just before landing:

Looks like it caught some serious flak….. I was surprised how well it flew, considering that it had lost some 25% of its wing surface area at this stage of moulting. However, if you take a closer look you will notice that the primaries, secondaries and tertiaries are nearly complete, with only one noticeable gap of missing feathers in each wing!

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About Heinrich Mallison

I'm a dinosaur biomech guy working at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
This entry was posted in Aves, Dinopics, Dinosauria, Maniraptora, Theropoda, Zoos. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to What it takes to fly

  1. dmaas says:

    Crazy. I always assumed that rows of feathers were structurally important. ie. transferring load.
    Great catch!

  2. Good photo. I’ve seen crows here in Japan getting by with a bit less than that. However, loss of the terminal primaries can really screw-up their flight.

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  5. Pye says:

    If you look closely, the feathers are actually damaged and not pin feathers (growing feathers). A growing feather has a thicker base as it develops uncurls, like a drinking straw. These are ragged, like the bird had a colision or a bad case of feather mites. Great photo!

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