Disorders of the plumage influence aerodynamic properties of the body during flight. Feathers
are equipped with a variety of sensors which are able to detect both position and
movements. There are hair-like feathers (filoplumes) associated with most feathers
which play a special role as sensory "hairs". Interestingly the information of these
sensors is transmitted directly to the cerebellum of the brain which is very important
for the control of locomotion.
Filoplumes act as "sensory hairs"
of the plumage
Flight-relevant sensory information from eyes, vestibular organ and sensory receptors
of feathers is transmitted directly to the posterior cerebellum
Necker, R.: Receptors in the skin of the wing of pigeons and their possible role
in bird flight. In: W. Nachtigall (ed.) Biona-Report. Fischer, Stuttgart New York,
pp. 433-444 (1985)
Necker, R.: Observations on the function of a slowly adapting mechanoreceptor associated
with filoplumes in the feathered skin of pigeons. J. Comp. Physiol. A 156, 391-394
Necker, R.: The somatosensory system. In: Sturkies Avian Physiology (ed. CG Whittow).
Academic Press, New York, 2000, pp 57-69
Avian flight control
Sensory „hairs“ in the plumage control aerodynamic properties of flight