thumbnail

Head-bobbing behavior in walking whooping cranes (Grus americana) and sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis)

Journal of Ornithology

By:
, , and
DOI: 10.1007/s10336-007-0199-0

Links

Abstract

Head-bobbing is a common and characteristic behavior of walking birds. While the activity could have a relatively minor biomechanical function, for balance and stabilization of gait, head-bobbing is thought to be primarily a visual behavior in which fixation of gaze alternates with a forward movement that generates visual flow. We studied head-bobbing in locomoting whooping cranes (Grus americana) and sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis), using food strewn on the ground to motivate them to walk or run. When the cranes walked, head-bobbing proceeded in a four-step sequence that was closely linked to the stepping cycle. The time available for gaze stabilization decreased with travel speed, and running cranes did not head-bob at all. As a crane extended its bill towards the ground for food, it also exhibited a series of short head-bobs that were not associated with forward travel. Head-bobbing is a flexible behavior that varies with gait and with visual search, most notably as the cranes prepare to strike with the bill.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Head-bobbing behavior in walking whooping cranes (Grus americana) and sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis)
Series title:
Journal of Ornithology
DOI:
10.1007/s10336-007-0199-0
Volume
148
Issue:
2 Supplement
Year Published:
2007
Language:
English
Publisher:
Springer-Verlag
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
7 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Ornithology
First page:
563
Last page:
569