Can a Bird Fly Without Tail Feathers | 5 Common Myths

What would happen if a bird could not fly using its tail feathers? Scientists have long been curious about this question, as it seems impossible for many birds to stay in the air without their distinctive tail feathers.

New research suggests that some birds can indeed fly without them. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, found that some falcons and kites can move through the air using only their wings, rather than relying on their tails to provide lift.

Research published in the journal Royal Society Open Science reveals that the answer may be YES and that some bird species can glide using their wings and fuselage instead.

Can a Bird Survive Without Tail Feathers

Some birds, such as the phalarope, can lose their tail feathers and still live. However, some birds, like the red-headed woodpecker, cannot survive without their tail feathers.

The loss of tail feathers has been observed in a number of bird species, leading some scientists to believe that it is not necessary for the birds to have them.

Winged birds such as the hummingbird, which does not use its tail for balance, are able to survive without them.

However, some other bird species, such as the hawk, which relies on its tail for flight and maneuverability, lose their tail feathers as they mature.

Birds With No Tail Feathers

There are many birds with no tail feathers. These birds have evolved a different way of flying and navigating their environment.

That allows them to move quickly through the air and reach great heights.

Birds With No Tail Feathers

These birds do not need to use their tails because they keep them in a curled position while they are sleeping or resting.

The tail is also usually tucked away during courtship and mating rituals.

List of Some of the birds with no tail feathers

  • Kiwi
  • Emu
  • Ostrich
  • Blackbird
  • Buzzard
  • Great spotted woodpecker
  • Green woodpecker
  • Lesser-spotted woodpecker
  • Red kite
  • Swallow
  • Treecreeper
  • and some water birds.

What Happens When a Bird Loses Its Tail Feathers?

When a bird loses one or more tail feathers, it may look like they are injured. In reality, the bird is just adjusting to their new featherless state.

Tail feathers are important because they help the birds balance while flying and they help the bird stay warm in cold weather climates.

What Happens When a Bird Loses Its Tail Feathers?

The loss of tail feathers can be devastating for many birds. For some, it can mean the end of their flying ability.

It may experience a decrease in its ability to fly and maneuver.

Feathers are an important part of a bird’s physical structure and without them, they can become very weak and susceptible to wind and weather conditions.

Why Bird Missing Tail Feathers

What could cause a bird to lose its tail feathers? Many factors can influence a bird’s feather loss, including environmental conditions, disease, predation, injury, and genetics.

Researchers aren’t sure why this occurs, but they believe that it might have something to do with how the wind blows the feathers around.

In some cases, a bird may lose its tail feathers as part of a natural process. But in other cases, a bird may lose its tail feathers as a result of an accident or illness.

Do Bird’s Feathers Grow Back?

Contrary to popular belief, yes, some feathers do grow back.

However, it is not the norm and typically only occurs in birds that have lost a large number of feathers, or those that have had their plumage trimmed or artificially replaced.

In general, feathers that are shed will not regrow, but there are a few exceptions.

How Long for Tail Feathers to Grow Back

Tail feathers grow back relatively quickly, but there is no set time for them to reach their full length.

Depending on a bird’s age and sex, tail feathers may take anywhere from a couple of weeks to up to 12 months to grow back.

Which Technique Do Birds Use to Fly Without Tail Feathers?

Birds typically use two techniques to fly: they can either flap their wings to generate lift, or they can rotate their bodies so that their wings are flapping in the opposite direction.

According to some scientists, birds use a technique called “flight without tail feathers.”

This theory suggests that the birds use their wings to fly, and not their tails. Some scientists believe that this is a more efficient way to fly because it uses less energy.

However, some birds – like the kiwi – lack tail feathers and rely on a pair of long, thin limbs called “feathers of flight” to help them fly.

Other birds, such as the cormorant, use their webbed feet to stay afloat. And still, other birds, such as the pelican, use their bills to catch the wind.

Can Baby Birds Fly Without Tail Feathers?

Yes, baby birds with no tail feathers are just as able to fly as babies with normal tail feathers.

Some baby birds don’t have tail feathers, and some adult birds lose them. Scientists aren’t sure why this happens, but it seems to be a common occurrence.

Some scientists think that baby birds may not need the extra weight from the tail feathers, since they won’t be flying very far or fast.

Others believe that the tail feathers may help baby birds fly in a straight line and that they can eventually grow new tail feathers if they need them.


It is evident that a bird can fly without tail feathers. While the feathers play an important role in flight, a bird is able to fly without them.

This is due to the fact that a bird’s wings are powerful enough to keep it in the air. Therefore, the loss of tail feathers does not prevent a bird from flying.


Do birds need a tail to fly?

Birds do not need a tail to fly, but it does help them control their flight and maneuver in the air. The tail feathers act like a rudder, helping the bird to turn and change direction. They also help to provide stability and balance during flight.

Can birds fly if you remove their feathers?

No, birds cannot fly if you remove their feathers. Feathers are essential for flight, as they provide lift and drag. Without feathers, birds would not be able to generate enough lift to stay in the air.

Can parrots fly without tail feathers?

Most parrots can fly without their tail feathers, but it may be difficult for them to control their flight and maneuver in the air. The tail feathers play an important role in steering and balancing during flight.

Is there a bird with no tail?

Yes, there are a few species of birds that do not have tails. These include the swiftlet, the oilbird, and the hoatzin. These birds have evolved to fly without tails, and they have other adaptations that help them control their flight.

For example, the swiftlet has long, narrow wings that help it to maneuver in tight spaces. The oilbird has long, strong legs that help it to take off from the ground. The hoatzin has a unique claw on its wing that helps it to climb trees.

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