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Feather holes and flight performance in the barn swallow Hirundo rustica

Animal Cells and Systems 2018년 22권 2호 p.124 ~ 131
Matyjasiak Piotr, Boniecki Pawel, Fuszara Maciej, Okolowski Mateusz, Olejniczak Izabela,
소속 상세정보
 ( Matyjasiak Piotr ) - Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw Faculty of Biology and Environmental Sciences
 ( Boniecki Pawel ) - Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw Faculty of Christian Philisophy
 ( Fuszara Maciej ) - Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw Faculty of Biology and Environmental Sciences
 ( Okolowski Mateusz ) - Polish Academy of Sciences Museum and Institute of Zoology
 ( Olejniczak Izabela ) - Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw Faculty of Christian Philisophy

Abstract


Feather holes are small (0.5?1?mm in diameter) deformities that appear on the vanes of flight feathers. Such deformities were found in many bird species, including galliforms and passerines. Holey flight feathers may be more permeable to air, which could have a negative effect on their ability to generate aerodynamic forces. However, to date the effects of feather holes on flight performance in birds remained unclear. In this study we investigated the relationship between the number of feather holes occurring in the wing or tail feathers and short term flight performance traits ? aerial manoeuvrability, maximum velocity and maximum acceleration ? in barns swallows, which are long distance migrating aerial foragers. We measured short-term flight performance of barn swallows in a standardized manner in flight tunnels. We found that acceleration and velocity were significantly negatively associated with the number of holes in the wing flight feathers, but not with those in the tail feathers. In the case of acceleration the negative relationship was sex specific ? while acceleration significantly decreased with the number of feather holes in females, there was no such significant association in males. Manoeuvrability was not significantly associated with the number of feather holes. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that feather holes are costly in terms of impaired flight. We discuss alternative scenarios that could explain the observed relationships. We also suggest directions for future studies that could investigate the exact mechanism behind the negative association between the number of feather holes and flight characteristics.

키워드

Barn swallow; feather hole; feather quality; feather wear; flight performance

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