Double-crested Cormorant, © Photo by Steve Kaye

Gular Fluttering Is for the Birds


Gular Fluttering Explained


Double-crested Cormorant, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in blog post: Gular Fluttering Is for the Birds

Double-crested Cormorant, Breeding Plumage


During hot summer days, everyone talks about gular fluttering.

If, by some odd chance, you’ve missed being part of such a conversation, here’s info on this important topic.

Now you’ll be able to impress your friends by taking the lead. For example, you might ask, “So tell me, what do you think about gular fluttering?”

Then be prepared for a flood of excited questions.

You might respond by offering a basic fact, such as: “Every species needs to maintain its body temperature.

When air temperatures are low (i.e., cold), birds generate heat internally by burning extra calories. This is easy because they have a large capacity for generating heat.

When air temperature are high (i.e., hot), birds must remove heat from their system. This can be difficult because heat reduction mechanisms have a small range of effectiveness.”

Pause here for a moment to let your friends absorb this.

“So birds vibrate their gular (throat tissues).

When they do this, they rapidly pump air back and forth in their system, thereby causing a very efficient form of evaporative cooling.”


Great Blue Heron, © Photo by Steve Kaye

Great Blue Heron


Finally, if they’d like to know more, you can send them a link to this blog so they can see the above photos and . . . [ Drum Roll, please ] watch a video.

See the video by clicking on the photo of the Great Blue Heron above or on this link: See Bird Video

So the next time you see a bird with its bill open on a hot day, pause a moment to watch. Notice how the throat pulses, moving air.

Much success,

Steve Kaye

Help Birds Tip

Put out water for birds on hot days.

Simply use empty food containers. Of course, wash them first. Then fill them with water an set them out in your yard.


Birding Resources

The American Bird Conservancy’s web site contains valuable info. See: American Bird Conservancy

Here’s an outstanding book about bird conservation: Bird Conservation


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1Comment
  • Eric Stogner
    Posted at 16:29h, 26 July

    Thanks Steve,
    I figured it was about staying cool.

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