Optic flow cues guide flight in birds

Bhagavatula, Partha S., Claudianos, Charles, Ibbotson, Michael R. and Srinivasan, Mandyam V. (2011) Optic flow cues guide flight in birds. Current Biology, 21 21: 1794-1799. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.09.009

Author Bhagavatula, Partha S.
Claudianos, Charles
Ibbotson, Michael R.
Srinivasan, Mandyam V.
Title Optic flow cues guide flight in birds
Journal name Current Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0960-9822
Publication date 2011-11-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2011.09.009
Volume 21
Issue 21
Start page 1794
End page 1799
Total pages 6
Place of publication Cambridge, MA, United States
Publisher Cell Press
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Abstract Although considerable effort has been devoted to investigating how birds migrate over large distances, surprisingly little is known about how they tackle so successfully the moment-to-moment challenges of rapid flight through cluttered environments [1]. It has been suggested that birds detect and avoid obstacles [2] and control landing maneuvers [3-5] by using cues derived from the image motion that is generated in the eyes during flight. Here we investigate the ability of budgerigars to fly through narrow passages in a collision-free manner, by filming their trajectories during flight in a corridor where the walls are decorated with various visual patterns. The results demonstrate, unequivocally and for the first time, that birds negotiate narrow gaps safely by balancing the speeds of image motion that are experienced by the two eyes and that the speed of flight is regulated by monitoring the speed of image motion that is experienced by the two eyes. These findings have close parallels with those previously reported for flying insects [6-13], suggesting that some principles of visual guidance may be shared by all diurnal, flying animals.
Keyword Freely flying honeybees
Visual control
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Wed, 07 Dec 2011, 12:08:22 EST by Debra McMurtrie on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute