New Publication - To hop or not to hop? The answer is in the bird trees

A new study by CRI Research Fellow Pauline Provini and her collaborator at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, was published in the journal Systematic Biology!

Have you ever wondered why certain birds are walking and others are hopping? This study tests the main hypotheses generally invoked to answer this question.

Is it because of the size of the bird? Or because of the way they use their legs?

Based on the exploration of more than a thousand bird species, the study suggests that birds living in trees are more likely to hop than strictly terrestrial species. Makes sense! If you want to move from one branch to the other, it is more efficient to jump or hop, instead of walking to the other branch.

The graphs included here show the evolutionary history of locomotion and arboreality of more than 1000 species of birds. We can see that the two traits are correlated.

You can find the full text of the study here.