Scientists have found that this bird stays in the air for almost a year without landing.
A small bird known as the common swift can stay in flight for ten months without ever landing, the longest time spent aloft of any known bird. It has been long suspected that the common swift can remain airborne for extraordinary amounts of time during its annual migration.
Now, a team of scientists has proven that these amazing creatures can fly for tremendously long periods of time. They fitted tiny backpacks on 13 of the brownish-black birds.
Weighing only one gram, these microdata logs recorded whether the birds were in the air or not, their acceleration, and where they had been at any time of the day.
“When the common swifts leave their breeding site in August for a migration to the Central African rainforests via West Africa, they never touch ground until they return for the next breeding season ten months later,” said researcher Anders Hedenström of Lund University in Sweden.
Some of the birds actually stopped but it was just for limited time cause they spent 99.5 percent of the ten months in the air. They are also known to catch food while in flight, according to the study.
The crazy part is we still don’t fully understand how they sleep. If you assume that like every other animal on the planet swift’s require some sleep, then logically, scientists have concluded, they must sleep while in the air. One possible way they’d be able to do this is like dolphins, who are able to turn off parts of their brain to “sleep” while their bodies remain active.
There’s also a very slim chance any animal will ever be discovered that flies longer than the common swift. Currently, the second longest flight of any animals belongs to the alpine swift, which flies for six months at a time and is a different species of swift that migrates much farther south in Africa.
“This discovery significantly pushes the boundaries for what we know about animal physiology,” said Hedenström.“A ten-month flight phase is the longest we know of any bird species – it’s a record.”