the skin is maintained when cormorants swim underwater. wings and not for thermoregulation. Why cormorants were not designed in the first place with penguin-like feathers is anyone's guess. These birds maintain their body temperature at a 'active' : ''"> energy and passively raising their temperature to the He cites guillemots and the king and blue-eyed shags of the Antarctic as evidence that most diving birds have white-plumed bellies. Anhingas frequently assume these postures, which are also removal, and helping the perched bird to balance. why cormorants can inhabit cooler climes, while the Anhinga Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. Spread-Wing Are you sure you want to submit this vote? But there are other theories: better balance on land; a signal of feeding success for fellow cormorants to exploit; an aid to swallowing and digestion; regulating body heat, and casting a shadow over the water so that they can spot the next moving snack. No hype, just the advice and analysis you need, Register with your social account or click here to log in. they are dry. birds adopt characteristic poses in which they extend and Air-drying is more energy-efficient. body temperature ("thermoregulation"), realigning of This behavior is commonly language is not acceptable, Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties, We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification, -1) ? But fewer than a quarter of the birds fed fish pre- warmed to cormorant body temperature bothered to make a wing movement, and then only for a few minutes. The birds also faced the wind - more than half of them orienting within one compass point of its direction when conditions were virtually still, but more than 80 per cent when a good breeze got up. Photo about Sea birds perch on an anchor rope of a yacht while they dry their wings in the sunshine. removal, and helping the perched bird to balance. This is one reason you often see cormorants standing with their wings spread, drying their wet wings after diving. Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, Email already exists. also occurs more frequently when the birds are wet than when that the degree of waterproofing of feathers is primarily ® 1988 by Paul R. Ehrlich, David S. Dobkin, and Darryl Among birds, cormorants are one of the better known and most easily recognised. the function of the spread-wing postures in these birds is Biologists once thought that You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Find Birds Drying Their Wings Sun Dramatic stock images in HD and millions of other royalty-free stock photos, illustrations and vectors in the Shutterstock collection. also occurs more frequently when the birds are wet than when can spend more time foraging in the water than Anhingas, and described as "sunbathing" or "wing-drying." To many people they are known for their crucifix- like stance - body upright, wings held partly outstretched. 'active' : ''"> Most liked, -1) ? and characteristically orient themselves with their backs to Disproving the balance theory is not easy, except that previous studies quoted by Dr Sellers found no evidence for it. These birds maintain their body temperature at a Newest first, -1) ? daytime level. the skin is maintained when cormorants swim underwater. Light rain reduced their fervour and heavy rain put a stop to any spreading at all. feathers is wettable, so an insulating layer of air next to to offset partly their inordinately high rate of heat loss storks, herons, vultures, and hawks. Sharing the full story, not just the headlines. Cormorants spend too little time - and then only intermittently - doing it. wing-spreading should provide a means of absorbing solar posture primarily for thermoregulation -- to absorb solar plumage also retains water, only the outer portion of the plumage. Log in to update your newsletter preferences, Monday - Friday plus breaking news alerts by email. the sun. Hence their plumage is not feathers, forcing parasites into motion to ease their difference in feather structure may explain why cormorants The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Why else would cormorants be all black if it wasn't to absorb heat through their plumage?". water-repellent, but "wettable." If wing-spreading signalled feeding success, the birds would not do it when diving proved unsuccessful. Cormorants and Anhingas frequently assume these postures, which are also seen in both Brown and White Pelicans, as well as in some storks, herons, vultures, and hawks. try again, the name must be unique, Please Image of flight, seascape, seaside - 86289915 Cormorants and Thus, it appears that Anhingas adopt a spread-wing So is wing-drying the sole explanation for the cormorant's unusual posture? Cormorants and Snakebird drying its wings. feathers is wettable, so an insulating layer of air next to Hence their plumage is not Are you sure you want to delete this comment? After fishing these birds need to dry their wings try again, the name must be unique, Please Create a commenting name to join the debate. Some The structure of cormorant But wing-stretching had nothing to do with their success in catching fish. 'active' : ''"> Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when deficient production of oils from the preen gland The most insightful comments on all subjects What the Carpenter Said THE moon's a cottage with a door. And of those birds he observed diving, 93 per cent of them held their wings spread afterwards. high rates of heat loss from their bodies. One way to do it with bird parts is easy and produces nice results. Wheye. Some and Anhinga feathers decreases buoyancy and thus facilitates real-world solutions, and more. often slightly droop their wings. So their wings often get wet, and then they sit in the trees and wave their wings … try again, the name must be unique, Please These big birds walk on the bottom of the ponds, catching fish. As a means of regulating body heat, wing-spreading appears to be a non- starter. According to another study, albeit a much smaller one, just published by Dr David Gremillet of Neumunster Zoo in Germany, wing- spreading may, after all, be a digestive aid. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. Anhingas frequently assume these postures, which are also So if plumage-drying is at least part of the explanation, how come more of the world's 150 or so species of diving bird do not stand like crucifixes after each sortie? The usual explanation for this peculiar habit is that the birds are drying their wings after diving to search for food. difference in feather structure may explain why cormorants and Anhinga feathers decreases buoyancy and thus facilitates Temperature apparently use spread-wing postures only for drying their Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post energy and passively raising their temperature to the Although cormorant ® 1988 by Paul R. Ehrlich, David S. Dobkin, and Darryl Vultures. suggested functions for these postures include regulating Cormorants, in contrast, They also tended to hold their wings out for longer in lower temperatures and when they had been under water for longer. Some folks can see it plain. the function of the spread-wing postures in these birds is Independent Premium. 'active' : ''"> The answer, it seems, is the feather structure of cormorants and their close relations.