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Flexible soaring style keeps vultures aloft longer


PhysOrg

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Vultures are poor flappers and need to soar in order to fly, relying on updrafts to gain altitude. Spend enough time watching vultures, though, and you'll notice them wobbling at low altitudes as well as circling high in the air. New research in The Auk: Ornithological Advances shows how vultures use small-scale turbulence to stay aloft even when weather conditions don't favor the formation of thermals. The mechanism and purpose of this behavior, which researchers have dubbed 'contorted soaring,' are explained for the first time in the forthcoming article.

 

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