Flight Patterns in Birds I enjoy birds

Many birds seem to fly the same way. In a straight line flapping their wings, but if you are to look closely, some bird species don't fly that way at all and you can sometimes identify a certain type of bird based on their flight pattern.

Direct Flight Pattern

The most common and well known flight pattern in birds is the Direct Flight Pattern. This pattern is where a bird will fly in a straight, consistent line and flap their wings every few seconds. Birds who fly in this flight pattern include doves, pigeons, swallow, and types of sparrow.


Although it isn't really like any of the flight patterns we're covering in this, it's more of a formation, yet it still qualifies as one. The V-formation is simply a formation where larger birds such as ducks and geese fly in a V shape similar to the Pascal's Triangle but only if the ones are counted.

The Pascal's Triangle is a triangle with many patterns in it created by the numbers in it.

Example of V-formation next to Pascal's Triangle.

Hawking Flight Pattern

If you are to look up at the sky at a hawk chances are it will be flying in the Hawking Flight Pattern. The Hawking Flight Pattern is simply a flight pattern where a hawk will be in a spot high in the air circling to keep flight. This is done in order to have a stationary place to monitor the ground for small prey animals such a rabbits, prairie dogs, and other small animals.

Finch Flight Pattern

Many small birds like finches have a similar flight pattern like the direct flight pattern but it's more bouncy and like a roller coaster. This is because while flapping their wings they fold them in. Woodpeckers also have a similar flight pattern, but it's a bit more steady and there are less curves in it.

Swarm Formation

Like the V-formation, this "pattern" requires a flock of birds. This one looks like a large wave of constant movement. What makes this formation unique is that all the birds within it seem to know what they're doing as they all stay in one group. Sparrows commonly will fly like this if there is any reason to do so and there are other sparrows nearby.

Gliding Flight Pattern

Although not really a flight "pattern" gliding is a way crows (not ravens) fly. What it basically is is a way that instead of flapping wings constantly, a crow will instead hold its wings out and only flap a few times at take off and sometimes in the air. This is done to save energy for the crow.

Bueto Flight Pattern

One of the key ways to distinguish the way the crow is different from the raven is not only size but also its flight pattern. The crow follows the Gliding Flight Pattern while the raven follows the Bueto Flight Pattern. The Bueto Flight Pattern is basically where a bird deliberately makes loud, forceful wing flaps in order to keep its heavy body in the air.


Many birds may seem to fly the same way, but as we discussed today, they do not. It seems that many birds fly in the same pattern, in a straight line similar to the Direct Flight Pattern, but now that you've seen this very insightful presentation, you can now be able to identify certain birds based on their flight pattern.





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