An unconventional mechanism of ventral clap is exploited by hovering passerines to produce lift. Quantitative visualization of the wake flow, analysis of kinematics and evaluation of the transient lift force was conducted to dissect the biomechanical role of the ventral clap in the asymmetrical hovering flight of passerines. The ventral clap can first abate and then augment lift production during the downstroke; the net effect of the ventral clap on lift production is, however, positive because the extent of lift augmentation is greater than the extent of lift abatement. Moreover, the ventral clap is inferred to compensate for the zero lift production of the upstroke because the clapping wings induce a substantial elevation of the lift force at the end of the downstroke. Overall, our observations shed light on the aerodynamic function of the ventral clap and offer biomechanical insight into how a bird hovers without kinematically mimicking hovering hummingbirds.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 22, 2011
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