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Coping with compliance during take-off and landing in the diamond dove (Geopelia cuneata)

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Version 2 2024-06-06, 06:47
Version 1 2018-09-10, 13:59
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-06, 06:47 authored by Kristen E Crandell, Austin F Smith, Ondi L Crino, Bret W Tobalske
The natural world is filled with substrates of varying properties that challenge locomotor abilities. Birds appear to transition smoothly from aerial to terrestrial environments during take-offs and landings using substrates that are incredibly variable. It may be challenging to control movement on and off compliant (flexible) substrates such as twigs, yet birds routinely accomplish such tasks. Previous research suggests that birds do not use their legs to harness elastic recoil from perches. Given avian mastery of take-off and landing, we hypothesized that birds instead modulate wing, body and tail movements to effectively use compliant perches. We measured take-off and landing performance of diamond doves (Geopelia cuneata (N = 5) in the laboratory and perch selection in this species in the field (N = 25). Contrary to our hypothesis, doves do not control take-off and landing on compliant perches as effectively as they do on stiff perches. They do not recover elastic energy from the perch, and take-off velocities are thus negatively impacted. Landing velocities remain unchanged, which suggests they may not anticipate the need to compensate for compliance. Legs and wings function as independent units: legs produce lower initial velocities when taking off from a compliant substrate, which negatively impacts later flight velocities. During landing, significant stability problems arise with compliance that are ameliorated by the wings and tail. Collectively, we suggest that the diamond dove maintains a generalized take-off and landing behavior regardless of perch compliance, leading us to conclude that perch compliance represents a challenge for flying birds. Free-living diamond doves avoid the negative impacts of compliance by preferentially selecting perches of larger diameter, which tend to be stiffer.

History

Journal

PLOS One

Volume

13

Article number

e0199662

Pagination

1-14

Location

San Francisco, Calif.

Open access

  • Yes

eISSN

1932-6203

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article, C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, the Authors

Issue

7

Publisher

Public Library of Science