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The flight apparatus of migratory and sedentary individuals of a partially migratory songbird species.

Fudickar AM, Partecke J - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: Long-distance flight is less costly with more pointed wings and shorter tails; however these traits decrease maneuverability at low speeds.Contrary to our predictions, there were no differences between migrants and residents in either measure.Our results indicate that morphological differences between migrants and residents in this partially migratory population may be constrained.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Radolfzell, Germany. afudickar@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
Variations in the geometry of the external flight apparatus of birds are beneficial for different behaviors. Long-distance flight is less costly with more pointed wings and shorter tails; however these traits decrease maneuverability at low speeds. Selection has led to interspecific differences in these and other flight apparatuses in relation to migration distance. If these principles are general, how are the external flight apparatus within a partially migratory bird species shaped in which individuals either migrate or stay at their breeding grounds? We resolved this question by comparing the wing pointedness and tail length (relative to wing length) of migrant and resident European blackbirds (Turdus merula) breeding in the same population. We predicted that migrant blackbirds would have more pointed wings and shorter tails than residents. Contrary to our predictions, there were no differences between migrants and residents in either measure. Our results indicate that morphological differences between migrants and residents in this partially migratory population may be constrained.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Comparison of the flight apparatus of migrant and sedentary blackbirds.Migrant and sedentary birds did not differ in either wing pointedness (A) or tail to wing ratio (B). Boxplots show the 5th and 95th percentiles. Circles indicate observations beyond the 5th and 95th percentiles.
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pone-0051920-g001: Comparison of the flight apparatus of migrant and sedentary blackbirds.Migrant and sedentary birds did not differ in either wing pointedness (A) or tail to wing ratio (B). Boxplots show the 5th and 95th percentiles. Circles indicate observations beyond the 5th and 95th percentiles.

Mentions: Neither age nor the interactions between age and strategy or sex were significant in the initial models (wing pointedness: N = 116, age F = 0.002, P = 0.97; age * sex F = 2.580, P = 0.11; age * strategy F = 0.175, P = 0.68; age * sex * strategy F = 0.015, P = 0.90), (tail-wing ratio: N = 70, age F = 0.359, P = 0.55; age * sex F = 0.100, P = 0.75; age * strategy F = 1.657, P = 0.20; age * sex * strategy F = 0.238, P = 0.63). In the final models, with age removed, both wing pointedness and tail-wing ratio did not differ between migrants and residents, between the sexes, and there were no significant interactions between strategy and sex (wing pointedness: N = 131, strategy F = 0.028, P = 0.87; sex F = 0.247, P = 0.62; strategy * sex F = 0.651, P = 0.42) (Figure 1a), (tail-wing ratio: N = 75, strategy F = 0.261, P = 0.61; sex F = 0.040, P = 0.84; strategy * sex F = 0.369, P = 0.54 (Figure 1b). There were also no differences for either measure when we compared residents with only migrants that returned to the breeding grounds (wing pointedness: N = 113, strategy F = 0.076, P = 0.78; sex F = 0.000, P = 0.99; strategy * sex F = 1.001, P = 0.32), (tail-wing ratio: N = 68, strategy F = 0.337, P = 0.56; sex F = 0.221, P = 0.64; strategy * sex F = 0.064, P = 0.80). We found no relationship between individual wing pointendess scores and tail-wing ratio (N = 75, rs = .037, P = 0.37).


The flight apparatus of migratory and sedentary individuals of a partially migratory songbird species.

Fudickar AM, Partecke J - PLoS ONE (2012)

Comparison of the flight apparatus of migrant and sedentary blackbirds.Migrant and sedentary birds did not differ in either wing pointedness (A) or tail to wing ratio (B). Boxplots show the 5th and 95th percentiles. Circles indicate observations beyond the 5th and 95th percentiles.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3526523&req=5

pone-0051920-g001: Comparison of the flight apparatus of migrant and sedentary blackbirds.Migrant and sedentary birds did not differ in either wing pointedness (A) or tail to wing ratio (B). Boxplots show the 5th and 95th percentiles. Circles indicate observations beyond the 5th and 95th percentiles.
Mentions: Neither age nor the interactions between age and strategy or sex were significant in the initial models (wing pointedness: N = 116, age F = 0.002, P = 0.97; age * sex F = 2.580, P = 0.11; age * strategy F = 0.175, P = 0.68; age * sex * strategy F = 0.015, P = 0.90), (tail-wing ratio: N = 70, age F = 0.359, P = 0.55; age * sex F = 0.100, P = 0.75; age * strategy F = 1.657, P = 0.20; age * sex * strategy F = 0.238, P = 0.63). In the final models, with age removed, both wing pointedness and tail-wing ratio did not differ between migrants and residents, between the sexes, and there were no significant interactions between strategy and sex (wing pointedness: N = 131, strategy F = 0.028, P = 0.87; sex F = 0.247, P = 0.62; strategy * sex F = 0.651, P = 0.42) (Figure 1a), (tail-wing ratio: N = 75, strategy F = 0.261, P = 0.61; sex F = 0.040, P = 0.84; strategy * sex F = 0.369, P = 0.54 (Figure 1b). There were also no differences for either measure when we compared residents with only migrants that returned to the breeding grounds (wing pointedness: N = 113, strategy F = 0.076, P = 0.78; sex F = 0.000, P = 0.99; strategy * sex F = 1.001, P = 0.32), (tail-wing ratio: N = 68, strategy F = 0.337, P = 0.56; sex F = 0.221, P = 0.64; strategy * sex F = 0.064, P = 0.80). We found no relationship between individual wing pointendess scores and tail-wing ratio (N = 75, rs = .037, P = 0.37).

Bottom Line: Long-distance flight is less costly with more pointed wings and shorter tails; however these traits decrease maneuverability at low speeds.Contrary to our predictions, there were no differences between migrants and residents in either measure.Our results indicate that morphological differences between migrants and residents in this partially migratory population may be constrained.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Radolfzell, Germany. afudickar@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
Variations in the geometry of the external flight apparatus of birds are beneficial for different behaviors. Long-distance flight is less costly with more pointed wings and shorter tails; however these traits decrease maneuverability at low speeds. Selection has led to interspecific differences in these and other flight apparatuses in relation to migration distance. If these principles are general, how are the external flight apparatus within a partially migratory bird species shaped in which individuals either migrate or stay at their breeding grounds? We resolved this question by comparing the wing pointedness and tail length (relative to wing length) of migrant and resident European blackbirds (Turdus merula) breeding in the same population. We predicted that migrant blackbirds would have more pointed wings and shorter tails than residents. Contrary to our predictions, there were no differences between migrants and residents in either measure. Our results indicate that morphological differences between migrants and residents in this partially migratory population may be constrained.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus