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Re: Sinocalliopteryx (Theropoda: Compsognathidae) ate confuciusornithids and dromaeosaurids
On top of all this, I think there is an unconscious assumption in a
> lot of discussions that the flight states are "stuck on the ground
> like a turtle" vs. "as aerial as a sparrow or starling". But consider
> that many modern birds do perfectly well with what from a sparrow's
> point of view are extremely limited modes of flight: birds like
> galliforms, for instance.
I agree! Galliforms are bad examples, though: they are very _powerful_
fliers. Basically all they do is lift off from the ground, lifting their
wings way above shoulder height (famous criticism of WAIR).
Sparrows are interesting in another way: they practice undulating
flight. They fly with so much power that they don't need to sustain the
effort. So, every other second, they just fold their wings and engage in
free fall. Only passeriforms and piciforms (their sister-group) seem to
do that, though.