Water bathing alters the speed-accuracy trade-off of escape flights in European starlings

Ben O. Brilot, Lucy Asher, Melissa Bateson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Birds of most species regularly bathe in water, but the function of this behaviour is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that water bathing is important in feather maintenance, and hence should enhance flight performance. We manipulated European starlings', Sturnus vulgaris, access to bathing water in a 2 × 2 design: birds were housed in aviaries either with or without water baths for a minimum of 3 days (long-term access) before being caught and placed in individual cages either with or without water baths for a further 24 h (short-term access). We subsequently assessed the speed and accuracy of escape flights through an obstacle course of vertical strings. Birds that had bathed in the short-term flew more slowly and hit fewer strings than birds that were deprived of bathing water in the short term, whereas long-term access to bathing water had no significant effect on flight performance. Thus recent access to bathing water alters flight performance by altering the trade-off between escape flight speed and accuracy. We hypothesize that lack of bathing water provision could increase anxiety in captive starlings because of an increase in their perceived vulnerability to predation. This study therefore potentially provides an important functional link between the expression of natural behaviours in captivity and welfare considerations. © 2009 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-807
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume78
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

bathing water
Sturnus vulgaris
trade-off
flight
bird
water
birds
captivity
feather
speed
vulnerability
aviaries
Sturnidae
predation
anxiety
animal behavior
feathers
cages

Cite this

Brilot, Ben O. ; Asher, Lucy ; Bateson, Melissa. / Water bathing alters the speed-accuracy trade-off of escape flights in European starlings. In: Animal Behaviour. 2009 ; Vol. 78, No. 4. pp. 801-807.
@article{589bcbf232f943148307a6eb9e7ff92f,
title = "Water bathing alters the speed-accuracy trade-off of escape flights in European starlings",
abstract = "Birds of most species regularly bathe in water, but the function of this behaviour is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that water bathing is important in feather maintenance, and hence should enhance flight performance. We manipulated European starlings', Sturnus vulgaris, access to bathing water in a 2 × 2 design: birds were housed in aviaries either with or without water baths for a minimum of 3 days (long-term access) before being caught and placed in individual cages either with or without water baths for a further 24 h (short-term access). We subsequently assessed the speed and accuracy of escape flights through an obstacle course of vertical strings. Birds that had bathed in the short-term flew more slowly and hit fewer strings than birds that were deprived of bathing water in the short term, whereas long-term access to bathing water had no significant effect on flight performance. Thus recent access to bathing water alters flight performance by altering the trade-off between escape flight speed and accuracy. We hypothesize that lack of bathing water provision could increase anxiety in captive starlings because of an increase in their perceived vulnerability to predation. This study therefore potentially provides an important functional link between the expression of natural behaviours in captivity and welfare considerations. {\circledC} 2009 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.",
author = "Brilot, {Ben O.} and Lucy Asher and Melissa Bateson",
year = "2009",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.07.022",
language = "English",
volume = "78",
pages = "801--807",
journal = "Animal Behaviour",
issn = "0003-3472",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "4",

}

Water bathing alters the speed-accuracy trade-off of escape flights in European starlings. / Brilot, Ben O.; Asher, Lucy; Bateson, Melissa.

In: Animal Behaviour, Vol. 78, No. 4, 10.2009, p. 801-807.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

TY - JOUR

T1 - Water bathing alters the speed-accuracy trade-off of escape flights in European starlings

AU - Brilot, Ben O.

AU - Asher, Lucy

AU - Bateson, Melissa

PY - 2009/10

Y1 - 2009/10

N2 - Birds of most species regularly bathe in water, but the function of this behaviour is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that water bathing is important in feather maintenance, and hence should enhance flight performance. We manipulated European starlings', Sturnus vulgaris, access to bathing water in a 2 × 2 design: birds were housed in aviaries either with or without water baths for a minimum of 3 days (long-term access) before being caught and placed in individual cages either with or without water baths for a further 24 h (short-term access). We subsequently assessed the speed and accuracy of escape flights through an obstacle course of vertical strings. Birds that had bathed in the short-term flew more slowly and hit fewer strings than birds that were deprived of bathing water in the short term, whereas long-term access to bathing water had no significant effect on flight performance. Thus recent access to bathing water alters flight performance by altering the trade-off between escape flight speed and accuracy. We hypothesize that lack of bathing water provision could increase anxiety in captive starlings because of an increase in their perceived vulnerability to predation. This study therefore potentially provides an important functional link between the expression of natural behaviours in captivity and welfare considerations. © 2009 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

AB - Birds of most species regularly bathe in water, but the function of this behaviour is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that water bathing is important in feather maintenance, and hence should enhance flight performance. We manipulated European starlings', Sturnus vulgaris, access to bathing water in a 2 × 2 design: birds were housed in aviaries either with or without water baths for a minimum of 3 days (long-term access) before being caught and placed in individual cages either with or without water baths for a further 24 h (short-term access). We subsequently assessed the speed and accuracy of escape flights through an obstacle course of vertical strings. Birds that had bathed in the short-term flew more slowly and hit fewer strings than birds that were deprived of bathing water in the short term, whereas long-term access to bathing water had no significant effect on flight performance. Thus recent access to bathing water alters flight performance by altering the trade-off between escape flight speed and accuracy. We hypothesize that lack of bathing water provision could increase anxiety in captive starlings because of an increase in their perceived vulnerability to predation. This study therefore potentially provides an important functional link between the expression of natural behaviours in captivity and welfare considerations. © 2009 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

U2 - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.07.022

DO - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.07.022

M3 - Journal Article

VL - 78

SP - 801

EP - 807

JO - Animal Behaviour

JF - Animal Behaviour

SN - 0003-3472

IS - 4

ER -