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Forskningsartikel2004Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Delayed plumage maturation increases overwinter survival in North Island robins

Berggren A, Armstrong DP, Lewis RM


Many bird species show delayed plumage maturation (DPM), retaining sub-adult plumage until after their first breeding season. Most explanations assume that DPM increases fitness over the breeding season. However, unless birds undergo a full moult before breeding, DPM could also be an adaptation to increase survival over the previous winter. The winter adaptation hypothesis has never been tested owing to the difficulty of measuring overwinter survival. We experimentally tested this hypothesis in North Island robins (Petroica longipes) using a closed island population where we could accurately estimate survival. The experiment involved dyeing 41 juveniles to mimic adult males, and comparing their survival with 41 control juveniles treated with the same peroxide base minus the pigment. The population was monitored with a series of resighting surveys, and mark-recapture analysis used to estimate overwinter survival. Survival probability was estimated to be 10% for dyed birds versus 61% for control birds in 2001, and 29% for dyed birds versus 40% for control birds in the winter of 2002, supporting the winter adaptation hypothesis for DPM. Access to suitable habitat is the key factor limiting juvenile survival in this population, and the locations where dyed juveniles were sighted suggest that they were often excluded from suitable areas

Publicerad i

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
2004, Volym: 271, nummer: 1553, sidor: 2123-2130 Utgivare: ROYAL SOC LONDON

      SLU författare

    • Berggren, Åsa

      • Institutionen för entomologi, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet

    UKÄ forskningsämne

    Miljö- och naturvårdsvetenskap

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