Respiration by Birds at High Altitude and in Flight

  • Marvin H. Bernstein
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIAS, volume 173)


When they fly, birds use more energy per unit of time than any other exercising vertebrate of similar size. Oxygen transfer to their tissues must therefore be especially efficient. Some birds visit and others reside at high altitudes, where environmental temperatures and available O2 are below the tolerance limits for many mammals. At 7,000 meters above sea level (ASL) where several birds are found, for example, barometric pressure (PB) and O2 partial pressure (PO2) fall to 308 Torr and 65 Torr, respectively. Mean air temperature (Ta) reaches an average of -30°C at the same height.


High Altitude Tidal Volume Hypobaric Hypoxia Brain Temperature Evaporative Water Loss 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marvin H. Bernstein
    • 1
  1. 1.New Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA

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