As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

The environment determines Caribbean hummingbirds' vulnerability

Date:  March 21, 2018
Source:  Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

Hummingbirds' specialization and vulnerability are often predicted based on their physical traits. Scientists now found that this is not the case for hummingbirds on the Caribbean islands. Instead, the bird's environment is the determining factor. The new study was led by scientists from Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen, and published today in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Hummingbird's body size and bill length are often used to predict how specialized and vulnerable the birds are to extinction of the flowers they feed on. However, a new study shows that vulnerability and specialisation of Caribbean hummingbirds are determined by their environment. The study is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Associate Professor Bo Dalsgaard from Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate explains,

"Our study shows that Caribbean hummingbirds living in rainy mountainous landscapes with cooler temperatures are more specialized and vulnerable to extinction of the flowers they drink nectar from, compared to hummingbirds in the lowlands."

Bo Dalsgaard elaborates on the findings, ." .. we believe our results display a general trend that applies to many other animals and plants throughout the world. Thus, protecting nature in mountain regions is very important, if we want to conserve specialized and vulnerable species, which exist in just one or a few places on earth."

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