Date:January 13, 2016
Researchers relate migration performance to body and wing size in migratory songbirds. The original article "The influence of morphological variation on migration performance in a trans-hemispheric migratory songbird" is available to read and download fully in open access on De Gruyter Online.
Every spring and fall, migratory songbirds around the world make epic journeys from their breeding to their wintering grounds. Ornithologists have long known that not all birds travel at the same speed during the treks, as some individuals tend to stay longer at stopover sites than others. The reason for the varying stopover lengths has usually been attributed to differences in feeding rates. Now, a team of Canadian researchers from the University of Manitoba has determined there is another, very surprising, reason why some birds stay longer at stopover sites than others. In an article, just published in Animal Migration, they conclude that, apparently, it is the physical structure of the birds that determines their performance.