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Name: Lionel
Status: student
Grade: 9-12
Location: Outside U.S.
Country: Australia
Date: Winter 2012-2913

I have noticed that sometimes birds when they fly raise their hind part to support them in lifting off. It's almost like a tail. That part keeps twitching (rising up and down) which I believe is the bird getting ready for unknown danger so it flies off quickly. But the bird uses that part to help itself fly. It was just a leisure time observation of mine. Would you please tell me if this is true or just some random occurrence?

Birds tend to use every part of their body to create air pressure for take off. Your observation is very valid and right about usage of tail for take off.


Hi Lionel,

Thanks for the question. Good observations! You are correct in noting that birds can move their tails in order to help them fly. Additionally, birds can adjust their tail feathers to help control their flight.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks Jeff

Interesting observation, but details of what species of bird, and what other immediate factors are in the environment would help answer the question. Some birds twitch their tails routinely, and there are many types of regular behavior in addition to flight and escape, that involve tail and body movements, depending on species and interactions. Here in North America we have some very good reference books on these subjects, perhaps you can find some for your area. Good luck.

J. Elliott

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