Flight stimulates adrenocortical activity in pigeons (Columba livia)

Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1986 Mar;61(3):424-7. doi: 10.1016/0016-6480(86)90228-5.


The influence of long-distance flight on corticosterone secretion has been examined in trained racing pigeons. Flights of 315-561 min from release sites 115-557 km from the home loft greatly increased the circulating corticosterone concentration in comparison with the levels in nonexercised controls sampled before release or bled in the loft at the times of release or arrival. The increase in corticosterone concentration was unrelated to the distance flown or duration of flight. Flights of less than 1 min duration (from release sites 100 m from the loft) increased the corticosterone concentration, in comparison with that in the loft controls, but to levels much lower (P less than 0.001) than those following long-distance flights and to concentrations similar to those in birds that were returned to the loft by hand.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Columbidae / blood
  • Columbidae / physiology*
  • Corticosterone / blood*
  • Female
  • Flight, Animal*
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion
  • Stress, Physiological / blood
  • Time Factors


  • Corticosterone