Flight effects on plasma glucose, lactate, catecholamines and corticosterone in homing pigeons

Horm Metab Res. 1987 Sep;19(9):400-2. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1011836.


Significant increase in the circulating levels of glucose, lactate, adrenaline (A) and noradrenaline (NA) was observed in homing pigeons after a flight of 48 km, lasting 60-80 min. There was, however, no change in plasma corticosterone concentrations. The increase in lactate has been attributed mainly to the activity of the white glycolytic fibres in the flight muscles. The increase in A and NA indicated increased sympathetic activity. It is suggested that the flight-induced increase in A stimulated the release of glucagon which could account for the increase in plasma glucose. The lack of any increase in plasma corticosterone implied that the birds were not under any serious stress during the flight and that these results represent the normal changes that may be expected in pigeons during a free flight of the specified distance and duration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / physiology*
  • Columbidae / blood*
  • Corticosterone / blood*
  • Epinephrine / blood*
  • Female
  • Flight, Animal*
  • Lactates / blood*
  • Male
  • Norepinephrine / blood*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Lactates
  • Corticosterone
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine