"June 22, 2005
Hummingbirds are masters of the air--unique among birds for their ability to hover for long periods of time. Using a sophisticated digital imaging technique, scientists have now determined the aerodynamics of hummingbird flight. These latest data disprove conclusions from numerous earlier studies that hummingbirds hovered like insects despite their profound muscle and skeletal differences.
The team found that hummingbirds support 75 percent of their weight during the wing's down stroke and 25 percent on the up stroke--in contrast to insects, which produce equal amounts of lift during their down and up strokes.
Researchers from Oregon State University, University of Portland and George Fox University published the new findings in the June 23 issue of the journal Nature."