|Ph.D Student, Chris Clark
study hummingbird tails. I measured the morphology of approximately 330
species of hummingbird in museums, to examine patterns of hummingbird
tail evolution in a phylogenetic context. Hummingbirds evolve
elongated tails a number of times, and theory predicts that long tails
increase drag. I've flown Anna's Hummingbirds (Calypte anna)
wind tunnel and experimentally manipulated their tail length (using the
long tails from the Jamaican Streamertail, Trochilus polytmus), to test
whether a long tail increases the amount of energy necessary to fly,
and also whether the top speed they can fly is reduced with a long
tail. I have also tested to see whether a long tail affects
ability of the Jamaican Streamertail to maneuver.
male Anna's Hummingbird perform a spectacular display
dive to females, in which they rise 30 to 50 m in the air, then dive
headfirst towards the female, before pulling up at the bottom of the
dive. At the bottom of the dive he emits a
"dive-noise". Previous researchers thought that the dive-noise
vocal, but I have
evidence suggesting that the noise is made with their tails!
Dudley R. Buchwald S.