The use of a low cost high speed camera to monitor wingbeat frequency in hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.13157/arla.61.1.2014.111

Authors: Ronny STEEN

E-mail: ronny.steen@nmbu.no

Published: Volume 61.1, June 2014. Pages 111-120.

Language: English

Summary:

Wingbeat frequency is an important parameter when studying flight performance in hummingbirds and could be put into an ecological and evolutionary context to investigate the decisions that a hummingbird takes regarding foraging efficiency. Previous studies of wingbeat frequencies in hummingbirds have been undertaken with captive birds, most probably due to limitations of experimental design and/or less mobile equipment. In the present paper I describe how I used a budget camera, which captured 220 frames per sec (fps), to film hummingbirds in order to quantify wingbeat frequency under natural conditions in Costa Rica. With this equipment I was able to obtain detailed information about stationary hovering flight in three different species; the charming hummingbird Amazilia decora, purple-throated mountain-gem Lampornis calolaema and violet sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus. Wingbeat frequency was higher for the purple-throated mountain-gem and the charming hummingbird compared to the larger violet sabrewing. It did not differ between the purple-throated mountain-gem and the charming hummingbird, which are more similar in size. In the purple-throated mountain-gem I found a higher wingbeat frequency and increased body inclination while hover-feeding compared to hovering in front of the feeder; hence it may be more costly to hover while feeding. It is hoped that the video techniques used here will encourage researchers to record wingbeat frequencies across a range of animal taxa.

Supplementary material:

Video: Examples of wingbeat frequencies in three hummingbird species.

Enter your email and password to access the contents of the subscribers of the magazine. If you are not subscribed click here





We use own and third party cookies for the proper operation of the Website, carrying out analytical metrics, showing multimedia content and advertising, and interacting with social networks. More information in our Cookies Policy.
Accept Exit