Date: March 7, 2018
Source: University of Toronto
A new U of T Scarborough study has found that when it comes to fuel efficiency, bigger is better for hummingbirds.
"In animals body size plays an important role in figuring out the amount of energy needed for movement," says Derrick Groom, lead author of the research and a former PhD student in Professor Ken Welch's lab.
"We found that larger hummingbirds are more fuel efficient than smaller species, and this may have to do with how smaller hummingbirds need to beat their wings more rapidly than larger species."
The goal of the study, which is published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, was to explore the link between morphological traits like body mass and wingspan to metabolic rates -- the rate at which the birds consume energy. The research also explored how well hummingbirds turned food energy into motion, also called mechanochemical efficiency.