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Physics-based simulations of aerial attacks by peregrine falcons reveal that stooping at high speed maximizes catch success against agile prey

Fig 4

Catch success mapped onto initial altitude and horizontal distance from the prey for non-maneuvering, smooth maneuvering and non-smooth maneuvering prey, and for 4 values of the navigation constant N: A low extreme (N = 1), the optimal value for catching non-smooth maneuvering prey (N = 2.8), the optimal value for catching smooth maneuvering prey (N = 5.6), and a high extreme (N = 15).

The yellow asterisks depict the global optima with respect to attack position and N, showing the attack strategy which uniquely maximizes catch success for a given prey motion. The yellow crosses denote local optima for a given N and prey motion. The approximate intercept speed corresponding to the initial altitude is shown on the right of the graph. This is only an approximate relationship because the exact intercept speed depends on many factors within each hunt.

Fig 4