Re: Birds' eyes

Subject: Re: Birds' eyes
From: Stephen Ambrose <>
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 18:34:22 +1000
At 02:16 PM 3/27/98 +1100, you wrote:
>Would Steve or Shane or anyone comment on whether the one way flow
>counter-current system of oxygen exchange in the avian lung would >be
advantageous cf with mammalian lung structure at depths? My >guess it that
while it is an advantageous at high altitudes to >improve oxygen absorption
it doesn't make much difference at >depths because the air is not flowing
through the lungs. 

That would be my guess, too.

>How do mammalian dive depths/times records compare with penguins?
Prosser (1973) lists the dive durations of several mammals:

Bottlenose Whale:  2 hours
Sperm Whale: 1.5 hours
Finback Whale: 30 minutes
Harbour Seal: 15 minutes

Other bird species (Dewar 1924):

Common Loon:  1.2 min
Red-throated Loon:  1.1 min
Black-throated Loon:  0.7 min

Great-crested Grebe:  0.8 min
Slavonian Grebe:  0.7 min

Great Cormorant:  1.2 min
Shag:  0.8 min

Pochard:  0.4 min
Tufted Duck:  0.7 min
Scaup:  0.8 min
Eider Duck:  0.8 min
Common Scoter:  0.8 min
Velvet Scoter: 0.9min 
Goldeneye:  0.6 min
Red-breasted Merganser:  0.8 min
Goosander:  0.6 min

Little Auk:  0.5 min
Razorbill:  0.9 min
Guillemot:  1.1 min


Dewar, J.M. (1924). The Bird As A Diver (Witherby, London).

Prosser, C.L. (1973). Comparative Animal Physiology (W.B. Saunders Company,

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