Flight effects on plasma levels of free fatty acids, growth hormone and thyroid hormones in homing pigeons

Horm Metab Res. 1988 May;20(5):271-3. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1010813.


Significant increases in circulating levels of free fatty acids (FFA) and growth hormone (GH), were observed in homing pigeons after a flight of 48 km, lasting 60-80 min. No significant change in plasma levels of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) was observed. Nor was there any change in T3/T4 ratio. The increase in plasma FFA is attributed to the increased release into circulation of at least one adipokinetic hormone, GH. It may be concluded that in free sustained homing flight under normal weather conditions and within the specific distance and duration, metabolic fuel and hormonal homeostasis is maintained.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Columbidae / physiology*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood*
  • Flight, Animal*
  • Growth Hormone / blood*
  • Thyroid Hormones / blood*
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Triiodothyronine / blood


  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Growth Hormone
  • Thyroxine