Control of air flow in bird lungs: Radiographic studies

James H Jones, E. L. Effmann, K. Schmidt-Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The complex pattern of air flow in the respiratory system of birds suggests that certain sites function as valves. To examine the possibility of mechanical valving, rather than aerodynamic valving, we recorded radiographic images of the orifices where the medioventral secondary bronchi branch from the primary bronchus in resting Pekin ducks. Analysis of the images indicated that the orifices do not change size or shape during the respiratory cycle, suggesting that they function as aerodynamic rather than mechanical valves in directing air flow through the lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
JournalRespiration Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes


  • Airways
  • Avian respiration
  • Gas flow
  • Mechanics of breathing
  • Parabronchial lung
  • Radiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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