Whiffling is a term used in ornithology to describe the behavior whereby a bird rapidily descends with a zig-zagging, side-slipping motion. Sometimes to whiffle, a bird flies briefly with its body turned upside down but with its neck and head twisted 180 degrees around in a normal position. The aerodynamics which usually give a bird lift during flying are thereby inverted and the bird briefly plummets toward the ground before this is quickly reversed and the bird adopts a normal flying orientation.[1][2] This erratic motion resembles a falling leaf, and is used to avoid avian predators or may be used by geese (family Anatidae) to avoid a long, slow descent over an area where wildfowling is practised.[3]

The behavior is seen in several species including lesser yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), the black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), the northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), geese (e.g. pink-footed goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)), three species of scoter (Melanitta), and other members of the family Anatidae.[4]

Snow Geese
Whiffling is a behaviour some birds perform before landing.


  1. ^ Ogilvie, M.A. and Wallace, D.I.M. (1975). "Field identification of grey geese". British Birds. 68: 57–67.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Ceurstemont, S. (25 January 2012). "Goose flying upside down captured in slow-mo movie". New Scientist TV. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  3. ^ Weaver, Pete (1981). "Whiffling". The Birdwatcher's Dictionary. Calton [GB]: T. & A.D. Poyser. ISBN 0-85661-028-3.
  4. ^ Humphries, D. A.; Driver, P. M. (1970). "Protean defence by prey animals". Oecologia. 5 (4): 285–302. doi:10.1007/BF00815496.

External links

Adam Jacot de Boinod

Adam Jacot di Boinod (born 1960) is a British author, notable for his works about unusual words, such as his last name. Usually known as Jacot, he has written three books, the first two (The Meaning of Tingo and Toujours Tingo) looking at words which have no equivalent in the English language, and his latest book (The Wonder of Whiffling) which reveals unusual words in English.

Bird flight

Bird flight is the primary mode of locomotion used by most bird species in which birds take off and fly. Flight assists birds with feeding, breeding, avoiding predators, and migrating.

Bird flight is one of the most complex forms of locomotion in the animal kingdom. Each facet of this type of motion, including hovering, taking off, and landing, involves many complex movements. As different bird species adapted over millions of years through evolution for specific environments, prey, predators, and other needs, they developed specializations in their wings, and acquired different forms of flight.

Various theories exist about how bird flight evolved, including flight from falling or gliding (the trees down hypothesis), from running or leaping (the ground up hypothesis), from wing-assisted incline running or from proavis (pouncing) behavior.

Glossary of bird terms

The following is a glossary of common English language terms used in the description of birds—warm-blooded vertebrates of the class Aves, characterized by feathers, the ability to fly in all but the approximately 60 extant species of flightless birds, toothless, beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart and a strong yet lightweight skeleton.

Among other details such as size, proportions and shape, terms defining bird features developed and are used to describe features unique to the class—especially evolutionary adaptations that developed to aid flight. There are, for example, numerous terms describing the complex structural makeup of feathers (e.g., barbules, rachides and vanes); types of feathers (e.g., filoplume, pennaceous and plumulaceous feathers); and their growth and loss (e.g., colour morph, nuptial plumage and pterylosis).

There are thousands of terms that are unique to the study of birds. This glossary makes no attempt to cover them all, concentrating on terms that might be found across descriptions of multiple bird species by bird enthusiasts and ornithologists. Though words that are not unique to birds are also covered, such as "back" or "belly", they are defined in relation to other unique features of external bird anatomy, sometimes called "topography". As a rule, this glossary does not contain individual entries on any of the approximately 9,700 recognized living individual bird species of the world.

Index of biophysics articles

This is a list of articles on biophysics.


"Jabberwocky" is a nonsense poem written by Lewis Carroll about the killing of a creature named "the Jabberwock". It was included in his 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The book tells of Alice's adventures within the back-to-front world of Looking-Glass Land.

In an early scene in which she first encounters the chess piece characters White King and White Queen, Alice finds a book written in a seemingly unintelligible language. Realizing that she is travelling through an inverted world, she recognises that the verses on the pages are written in mirror-writing. She holds a mirror to one of the poems and reads the reflected verse of "Jabberwocky". She finds the nonsense verse as puzzling as the odd land she has passed into, later revealed as a dreamscape."Jabberwocky" is considered one of the greatest nonsense poems written in English. Its playful, whimsical language has given English nonsense words and neologisms such as "galumphing" and "chortle".

Kiichi Okamoto

Kiichi Okamoto (岡本 歸一 (shinjitai: 帰一), Okamoto Kiichi, 12 June 1888 – 29 December 1930) was a Japanese painter best known for his illustrations for children.

List of short stories by David R. Bunch

This list combines material found in several bibliographies of science fiction writer David R. Bunch. It should not be considered exhaustive, because no definitive Bunch bibliography is known to exist.

Man in the Dark

Man in the Dark is a 1953 film noir drama 3-D film directed by Lew Landers and starring Edmond O'Brien, Audrey Totter and Ted de Corsia. It is a remake of the 1936 Ralph Bellamy film The Man Who Lived Twice.It was the first Columbia Pictures film released in 3-D.


Manacus is a genus of passerine birds in the manakin family which are found in the forests of tropical mainland Central and South America, and on Trinidad and Tobago.

The genus Manacus was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the white-bearded manakin (Manacus manacus) as the type species. The name manacus is from the Dutch manneken "pretty little thing".The genus contains four species:

The "Almirante manakin" (Manacus x cerritus) are stereotyped hybrids between the white-collared and the golden-collared species, found in Bocas del Toro Province, Panama (Brumfield et al., 2001; McDonald et al., 2001).

These are small, compact, short-tailed birds with a heavy hooked bill and orange legs. The males have brightly coloured plumage and long puffed throat feathers, whereas the females are the typical manakin dull olive hue.

The females lay two eggs in a shallow cup nest in a tree. Nest-building, incubation for 18–21 days, and care of the young are undertaken by the female alone, since manakins do not form stable pairs.

Manacus manakins feed low in the trees on fruit and some insects, both plucked from the foliage in flight.

Like some other manakin species, this genus has spectacular courtship rituals, in which the males give communal displays in a specially prepared lek. The males jump with their throat feathers erected to form a beard, and give whistles together with the characteristic loud snaps (like a breaking twig) and various buzzing, rustling and whiffling noises made with the wings.

The males of three very closely related species, the white-collared manakin of the Caribbean slopes of Central America, and its Pacific counterparts, the orange-collared and golden-collared manakins, have heavily modified wings with the five outer primaries very narrow for their outer half, and the inner primaries thickened and bowed.

Orange-collared manakin

The orange-collared manakin (Manacus aurantiacus) is a passerine bird in the manakin family. It is an endemic resident breeder in Costa Rica and western Panama, where it is found in forests, secondary growth and plantations. It is a small, plump bird about 10 centimetres (4 in) long. Males have a black crown, mid back, wings and tail and an olive-green rump. The rest of the head, neck, breast and upper back are orange, and the belly is yellow. Females are olive-green with yellow underparts and resemble female white-collared manakins. At breeding time, males are involved in lekking behaviour on the forest floor. This is a fairly common species with a somewhat restricted range, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".

Prairie Bayou

Prairie Bayou (March 4, 1990 – June 5, 1993) was an American Thoroughbred Champion racehorse owned and bred by Loblolly Stable of Lake Hamilton, Arkansas. Named for a bayou between Little Rock and Hot Springs in Arkansas, he was sired by Little Missouri and out of the mare Whiffling. Owned by Loblolly Stable, after Prairie Bayou's success on the racetrack, including the 1993 Preakness Stakes, Calumet Farm purchased Whiffling in foal to Danzig for $1,050,000 at the 1994 Keeneland November Sale.


A smirk is a smile evoking insolence, scorn, or offensive smugness, falling into the category of what Desmond Morris described as Deformed-compliment Signals.A smirk may also be an affected, ingratiating smile, as in Mr Bennet's description of Mr Wickham as making smirking love to all his new in-laws in the novel Pride and Prejudice.

The BFG (1989 film)

The BFG is a 1989 British animated film produced by Cosgrove Hall Films and based on the 1982 novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. It was directed by Brian Cosgrove and written by John Hambley. The film was first shown on 25 December 1989 on ITV in the UK.The film was dedicated to animator George Jackson, who had worked on numerous Cosgrove Hall productions before his death in 1986. It was also the last and posthumous role of Ballard Berkeley (voice of the Head of the Army), who died in 1988.

Waterfowl hunting

Waterfowl hunting (also called wildfowling or waterfowl shooting in the UK) is the practice of hunting ducks, geese, or other waterfowl for food and sport. In many western countries, commercial waterfowl hunting is prohibited, and duck hunting is primarily an outdoor sporting activity.

Many types of ducks and geese share the same habitat, have overlapping or identical hunting seasons, and are hunted using the same methods. Thus it is possible to take different species of waterfowl in the same outing. Waterfowl can be hunted in crop fields where they feed, or, more frequently, on or near bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps, sloughs, or oceanic coastlines.

Weapon dance

The weapon dance employs weapons—or stylized versions of weapons—traditionally used in combat in order to simulate, recall, or reenact combat or the moves of combat in the form of dance, usually for some ceremonial purpose. Such dancing is quite common to folk ritual in many parts of the world. Weapon dancing is certainly ancient; among the earliest historical references we have are those that refer to the pyrrhichios, a weapon dance in ancient Sparta, in which the dance was used as a kind of ritual training for battle.There are virtually no parts of the world left where the weapon dance is directly connected with imminent or recent combat. This is especially true of European states, which have long since moved away from the tribalism that usually gives rise to such folk dances. It is, however, also true of parts of the world where tribal traditions have succumbed to colonialism and the forces of globalism. The dances that one sees today are often part of general movements to preserve and rejuvenate tribal or local traditions. Some of these movements are quite strong now, such as those among native North American tribes and the aboriginal peoples of Australia.

Related to weapon dances and war dances is the dance of the hunt. A very early reference to a weapon dance of the hunt comes in the form of a rock carving at Çatal Höyük, the large neolithic settlement in south-central Anatolia. It depicts a hunting ritual involving dancers holding their bows; one figure has a bow in each hand, two perform artistic leaps and another holds a horn-shaped stick and is striking a frame drum.

White-collared manakin

The white-collared manakin (Manacus candei) is a passerine bird in the manakin family. It is a resident breeder in the tropical New World from southeastern Mexico to Costa Rica and the extreme west of Panama. It typically inhabits thickets at the edges of moist forest, tall secondary growth and old cacao plantations. It is a small, plump bird about 11 centimetres (4.3 in) long. Males have a black crown, mid-back band, wings and tail, an olive-green rump and yellow belly. Females and juveniles are olive-green with yellow bellies and resemble female orange-collared manakins. At breeding time, males are involved in lekking behaviour on the forest floor during which they puff out their neck feathers. This is a fairly common species with a wide range, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".

William Beach Thomas

Sir William Beach Thomas, (22 May 1868 – 12 May 1957) was a British author and journalist known for his work as a war correspondent and his writings about nature and country life.

Beach Thomas was the son of a rural clergyman. He attended Shrewsbury School and the University of Oxford before embarking on a short-lived career as a schoolmaster. Finding that work unpleasant, he turned his attention to writing articles for newspapers and periodicals, and began to write books.

During the early part of the First World War, Beach Thomas defied military authorities to report news stories from the Western Front for his employer, the Daily Mail. As a result, he was briefly imprisoned before being granted official accreditation as a war correspondent. His reportage for the remainder of the war received national recognition, despite being criticised by some and parodied by soldiers. His book With the British on the Somme (1917) portrayed the English soldier in a very favourable light. Both France and Britain rewarded him with knighthoods after the war, but Beach Thomas regretted some of his wartime output.

Beach Thomas's primary interest as an adult was in rural matters. He was conservative in his views, and feared that the post–Second World War socialist governments regarded the countryside only from an economic perspective. He was an advocate for the creation of national parks in England and Wales, and mourned the decline of traditional village society. He wrote extensively, particularly for The Observer newspaper and The Spectator, a conservative magazine. His book The English Landscape (1938) includes selections from his contributions to Country Life magazine.

Related topics

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.