Collared doves Streptolelia decaocto display with high, near-maximal muscle powers, but at low energetic cost

Usherwood, J R (2008) Collared doves Streptolelia decaocto display with high, near-maximal muscle powers, but at low energetic cost. Journal of Avian Biology, 39 (1). pp. 19-23.

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Abstract

Display flight in collared doves Streptopelia decaocto consists of a rapid ascent from a perch, followed by a glide back to the same or near-by perch. The hypothesis that ascending flight presents an honest signal of the maximum power generating capacity of the displayer is considered. Using a deliberately conservative approach to calculating the power requirements of collared dove display flights, the highest power performance in an ascending collared dove is equivalent to that derived from wind tunnel studies on the morphologically similar ringed turtle-dove Streptopelia risoria. Muscle power requirements are very high (up to 232 W/kg), representing the highest performance measured in the field to date. However, the maximum energy requirements over an hour due to climbing power equates to only 5% of the basal metabolic rate. Display flight in collared doves appears to be an efficient and 'uncheatable' system for demonstrating fitness, either for mating or for territory defence.