The Most Powerful Bird

The rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta).
 (Picture from:
If you think that the hawk or kestrel as the most powerful bird in the world, then you are wrong. The most powerful bird in the world was not a hawk or a kestrel, which can fly almost 300 kph, but the Rock ptarmigan bird or Arctic birds (Lagopus muta). Recent research shows that Arctic birds are truly adapted to life in extreme conditions in the northern hemisphere.

Ptarmigan live year-round rock in the ice and tundra at the north pole. Bodied birds like chickens can remain healthy and fit even put on weight. He can double his body weight during the winter.

These findings were presented in the annual conference "Society for Experimental Biology" in Salzburg, Austria. "The amount of energy to move a very vital for survival in the Arctic," said John Lees of the University of Manchester in England.

With Jonathan Codd, Lees studied the effect of rising temperatures in the Arctic to the Arctic bird life. In Svalbard, which lies far north of Norway, they make a mini gym for Arctic birds. Room temperature is maintained at a 6 degree Celsius that the birds remain comfortable while "exercising".

They used a mini treadmill to monitor bird activity and measure the oxygen consumption of birds when walking and running. "Ptarmigan as a natural born athlete. Soon after placed on the treadmill, they will begin to run," said Lees.

Lees can measure precisely the amount of energy used Arctic birds. You do this by measuring the amount of oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide produced by birds when running on the treadmill.
The same bird looks very different in the summer (left) compared to the winter (right). (Picture from:
The result was amazing. Arctic birds spend the same amount of energy when they walk in the summer. In fact, during the winter, body fat increased significantly. Produced by fat around the chest acts like a combination of bird food stores as well as winter coats.

Lees says, learn how animals survive the Arctic may provide the earliest clues about the impact of global warming on wildlife. Therefore, Arctic animals have the ability to adapt to extreme cold environment. *** [BBC NATURE | MAHARDIKA SATRIA HADI | KORAN TEMPO 3931]
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