Some birds fly across the Sahara in one go, a trip of more than 1500 km. In doing so, they lose up to half their weight. How did that happen?

I would like to know why the weight of the birds halves when they fly over the Sahara in one go. Is this because of the heat or is there something else behind it. I need this for school and would like an answer to it.

Thank you in advance.

Asker: Kamal, 18 years old


Imagine that you have to fly 1500 km in one go and that every stop is one time too much. Also remember: in the Sahara you won’t find that much food. How do you prepare? Rest well, drink a lot and… eat a lot! As a result, you accumulate fat that you can use as fuel during your hunger. Since such a long flight costs a lot of energy, these birds consume a lot of fat, which naturally causes them to lose weight. This can sometimes be up to almost half their own body weight. When they arrive at their destination, they must of course try to replenish their depleted stocks as quickly as possible.

Answered by

Ann Geens

biology, biomedical sciences

Rijvisschestraat 120 9052 Ghent


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