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This paper reviews recent results on the mechanics and aerodynamics of perching in a large bird of prey, the Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis. Data collected using onboard and high-speed video cameras are used to examine gross morphing of the wing planform by the flight muscles, and smaller-scale morphing of the wing profile by aeroelastic deflection of the feathers, Carruthers et al (1) . Highresolution still images are used to reconstruct the shape of the wing using multi-station photogrammetry, and the performance of the measured wing profile is analysed using a panel code, Carruthers et al (2) . In bringing these lines of research together, we examine the role of aeroelastic feather deflection, and show that the key to perching in birds lies not in high-lift aerodynamics, but in the way in which the wings and tail morph to allow the bird to transition quickly from a steady glide into a deep stall.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Aeronautical Journal

Publication Date

01/11/2010

Volume

114

Pages

673 - 680