Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department

Biological Sciences, Division of


Biology – Human Biological Sciences

Faculty Mentor Department

Biological Sciences, Division of

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Bret Tobalske

Faculty Reader(s)

Dr. Bret Tobalske


Slope, Hind Limb Kinematics, Chukar, Ground-dwelling, Galliformes

Subject Categories

Biomechanics | Ornithology | Poultry or Avian Science


Ground dwelling birds must scale all kinds of complex terrain in order to survive in their natural environments. For instance, Alectoris chukar live on steep hillsides with slopes of up to 60° or 172.3% slope. We undertook the present study to improve understanding of how birds successfully traverse such complex terrain. Using a high speed camera, we analyzed the hind limb kinematics of chukars during normal locomotion on a 10° and 35° incline, decline, and level slope. We compared the data collected from the video recordings, which we had used to identify and digitize the bony landmarks, between all conditions. We discovered that the kinematics of the hind limbs of chukars differed significantly depending on the angle of slope being traversed during normal locomotion. Compared to the other conditions, during descent at 35°, the maximum and minimum knee angles and the maximum angles within the foot demonstrate significant differences. This result suggests a correlation between the steepness of the slope being traversed and the muscular activity required to acquire the specific body positions necessary to accomplish locomotion on the various, demanding slopes found in their habitats.

Honors College Research Project




© Copyright 2020 Anna T. Kenney