Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Birds display lateralization bias when selecting flight paths

Date:
March 6, 2014
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
Flocks of birds manage to navigate through difficult environments by individuals having predispositions to favor the left- or right-hand side. Researchers flew the budgerigars down a tunnel where they were met by an obstacle, and a choice of two paths to fly through. Sometimes the paths were of equal size, and sometimes one would be bigger than the other. Some birds had no bias and would choose the wider gap every time, while others with a distinct bias preferred going to one side, even if it was significantly narrower than the alternative.

Credit: Image courtesy of PLOS

Flocks of birds manage to navigate through difficult environments by individuals having predispositions to favour the left- or right-hand side, according to research published in PLOS Computational Biology this week.

Scientists at The University of Queensland's Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Vision Science found that budgerigars display individual bias to fly to the left or right. This allows flocks to quickly navigate past obstacles by being able to split and not slow down due to crowding.

Dr Partha Bhagavatula, the study's first author, says: "We were looking at finding out how birds decide to navigate, because they're very good at travelling through environments with narrow gaps such as dense bush and forests quickly and without collisions."

Researchers flew the budgerigars down a tunnel where they were met by an obstacle, and a choice of two paths to fly through. Sometimes the paths were of equal size, and sometimes one would be bigger than the other.

"By giving birds the choice of flying left or right, through a pair of two adjacent openings, we were able to see that they displayed individual preferences," Dr Bhagavatula said.

Some birds had no bias and would choose the wider gap every time, while others with a distinct bias preferred going to one side, even if it was significantly narrower than the alternative.

"This is very interesting and unexpected -- because it's generally expected for an animal species to have one dominant side that they prefer, so we theorised why this is the case," Dr Bhagavatula commented.

Project leader Professor Mandyam Srinivasan says that more investigations need to be done on this by flying the birds in groups, and seeing how individuals behave in a group dynamic, and whether they maintain those preferences when flying in a flock.

"What's remarkable is that birds display a lateralisation bias in one task, such as route choice, but will have a bias for another task, such as what side they land on a perch, or what leg they favour to land on," Professor Srinivasan said.

"This shows how complex animal thought can be, and essentially we're throwing a spanner in the works with research such as this," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by PLOS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Partha S. Bhagavatula, Charles Claudianos, Michael R. Ibbotson, Mandyam V. Srinivasan. Behavioral Lateralization and Optimal Route Choice in Flying Budgerigars. PLoS Computational Biology, 2014; 10 (3): e1003473 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003473

Cite This Page:

PLOS. "Birds display lateralization bias when selecting flight paths." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306191520.htm>.
PLOS. (2014, March 6). Birds display lateralization bias when selecting flight paths. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306191520.htm
PLOS. "Birds display lateralization bias when selecting flight paths." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306191520.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins