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Bar-Headed Geese fly over the worlds's highest mountain range, the Himalayas,...

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mgoun | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted January 4, 2013 at 6:35 AM via web

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Bar-Headed Geese fly over the worlds's highest mountain range, the Himalayas, at heights of 25,000 feet. What adaptations allow them to fly so high?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 5, 2013 at 2:46 AM (Answer #1)

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Bar-Headed Geese have many adaptations that allow them to fly over the Himalayas.  They have adaptations that allow them to process oxygen more thoroughly than other birds.  They also have the capability for extremely powerful flapping that serves a number of purposes.

The Bar-Headed Goose’s ability to flap very powerfully is important for two reasons.  First, it allows them to fly in the very thin air at tremendous altitudes.  Second, it heats them very effectively.  The exertion of their flapping heats them and the heat is trapped by their down.  This keeps them warm and ensures that their wings will not ice up. 

This bird is also very efficient at processing oxygen.  It has a special type of hemoglobin that can absorb oxygen very effectively.  This allows them to absorb more oxygen than other birds would be able to at such high altitudes.  They also have capillaries that go deeper into their muscles than those of other birds.  This means that their blood gets more oxygen in it and delivers it further into muscles.  These things allow it to remain conscious and able to fly even over the Himalayas.

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