Self-organized aerial displays of thousands of starlings: a model
AbstractThrough combining theoretical models and empirical data, complexity science has increased our understanding of social behavior of animals, in particular of social insects, primates, and fish. What are missing are studies of collective behavior of huge swarms of birds. Recently detailed empirical data have been collected of the swarming maneuvers of large flocks of thousands of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) at their communal sleeping site (roost). Their flocking maneuvers are of dazzling complexity in their changes in density and flock shape, but the processes underlying them are still a mystery. Recent models show that flocking may arise by self-organization from rules of co-ordination with nearby neighbors, but patterns in these models come nowhere near the complexity of those of the real starlings. The question of this paper, therefore, is whether such complex patterns can emerge by self-organization. In our computer model, called StarDisplay, we combine the usual rules of co-ordination based on separation, attraction, and alignment with specifics of starling behavior: 1) simplified aerodynamics of flight, especially rolling during turning, 2) movement above a "roosting area" (sleeping site), and 3) the low fixed number of interaction neighbors (i.e., the topological range). Our model generates patterns that resemble remarkably not only qualitative but also quantitative empirical data collected in Rome through video recordings and position measurements by stereo photography. Our results provide new insights into the mechanisms underlying complex flocking maneuvers of starlings and other birds. Copyright 2010, Oxford University Press.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by International Society for Behavioral Ecology in its journal Behavioral Ecology.
Volume (Year): 21 (2010)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK
Fax: 01865 267 985
Web page: http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/
You can help add them by filling out this form.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.