This is an article collection published in Avian Research.
Edited by: Dongming Li, Jesse S. Krause, Shuping Zhang, Jinsong Liu
Over recent decades, the field of avian physiology has flourished, which provided exceptional opportunities to explore the diversity of adaptive strategies of animal physiological ecology. As a group of endothermic vertebrates, birds (the class Aves) have a unique suite of adaptive traits for the powered flight that includes a complex respiratory system, higher metabolic rate, more effective antioxidant system, etc. Aves is one of the most prosperous amniotes (totaling over 10,000 species) in the world and can be found in all kinds of habitats from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Despite our substantial growth in knowledge, there are still many questions that have not yet been answered in the field of physiological ecology. This thematic series is focusing on how free-living birds have undergone adaptive changes in their physiology in response to selective pressures imposed by their environment to maximize fitness. The coverage includes, but is not limited to, the following research topics: environmental neuroendocrinology, metabolism and thermal biology, comparative physiological ecology, etc.