Volume 13 Issue 1
Mar.  2022
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Xinxin Liang, Mingjie Liu, Chenxi Ying, Zihui Zhang. 2022: Myological variation in the hindlimb of three raptorial birds in relation to foraging behavior. Avian Research, 13(1): 100053. doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100053
Citation: Xinxin Liang, Mingjie Liu, Chenxi Ying, Zihui Zhang. 2022: Myological variation in the hindlimb of three raptorial birds in relation to foraging behavior. Avian Research, 13(1): 100053. doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100053

Myological variation in the hindlimb of three raptorial birds in relation to foraging behavior

doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100053
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  • Corresponding author: E-mail address: zihuizhang@cnu.edu.cn (Z. Zhang)
  • Received Date: 23 Jan 2022
  • Accepted Date: 23 Jul 2022
  • Rev Recd Date: 26 Jun 2022
  • Available Online: 11 Oct 2022
  • Publish Date: 02 Aug 2022
  • Raptors share a common predatory lifestyle, but are different in food preferences and hunting behavior. The grip force and talons' grasping capabilities are fundamentally crucial for subduing and killing their prey to feed, but the abilities and differences to generate force are less known. In this study, the entire pelvic muscles were dissected with the muscle mass and fibre length measured and physiological cross-sectional area counted in the Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), and Long-eared Owl (Asio otus). Statistical tests were performed to explore the possible differences in architectural parameters among species. These species were same in distributing the greatest proportion of muscle mass to the shank region and the digital flexor functional group, allocating more than 60% muscle mass in relation to total single leg muscle mass to the same seven individual muscles including flexor digitorum longus (FDL), flexor hallucis longus (FHL), and tibialis cranialis (TC) which are three major muscles responsible for talon closure. Interspecies differentiations were most present in the shank and tarsus instead of other regions of the leg, which might reflect their difference in hunting mode and foot use. Greater force-generation capacity of FHL and some anatomical features suggest that digits 1 and 2 work together as an efficiently vise-like set, playing more critical role than digits 3–4 in foraging of diurnal raptors but to a different degree. In accordance with zygodactyl foot morphology, each digit of the Long-eared Owl plays a subequal role when hunting, evidenced by anatomical and architectural features. Because of its unique insertion to the base of the pygostyle, the striking numerical difference in the development of M. caudofemoralis was possibly related to raptors' flight behavior and feeding ecology. Concluded from anatomical and architectural aspects, the similarities and differences of the hindlimb musculature were correlated to common predatory lifestyle and different foraging behaviors in three raptor species. These results illustrated the underlying myological basis for the functional capacities of the leg muscles and may provide additional information useful in further biomechanical investigation and computer simulation.


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