The walk of the Silver gull (Larus novaehollandiae) and of other birds

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Abstract

A total of 317 steps of walking Silver gulls (Larus novaehollandiiae) and filmed sequences of 24 other species of medium-sized and large birds were analyzed. The angles made by the tibiotarsus-tarsometatarsus joint of each leg during walking were measured. These varied depending on the species. In the Silver gull, where the angles were correlated with speed, the leg bent more sharply the slower the step; otherwise the angles were not correlated with speed. In all but the four largest birds, as in man, the leg was more bent in the middle of its stance phase than it was at the beginning or end of this phase. Thejoint was never completely straight, or 180″. In general the larger the bird, the slower was its step. The Silver gull and other birds do not bob their heads back-and-forth as they walk, but many birds do. It is not known why some birds bob their heads, although it may be correlated in part with a relative horizontal body posture, with seeing effectively, with balance during locomotion, or with habitat. The Silver gull does not hop, but some birds do, usually birds that live in the bush, or that are small.

Ancillary