alula

noun al·u·la \ ˈal-yə-lə \

Definition of alula

plural alulae play \-ˌlē, -ˌlī\
: a specialized structure of the upper leading edge of a bird's wing that consists of a tuft of short, stiff flight feathers attached to the movable first wing digit corresponding to the thumb and that facilitates flight, landing, and maneuverability at slow speeds : bastard wing
  • While easy to overlook, the alula is essential to a modern bird's aerodynamics.
  • —Tom Waters
  • By altering airflow, the alula permits good maneuverability and control at low flying speeds, crucial for takeoffs and landings.
  • National Geographic

Origin and Etymology of alula

New Latin, from Latin, diminutive of ala wing — more at aisle


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