Journal article

Wings of tropical finches: interspecific differences in shape are consistent with levels of mobility, but moult and feather fault patterns are more complex

Donald C Franklin, Sarah Legge, Anja Skroblin, Joanne Heathcote, Kimberly Maute, Douglas J Schaefer, Stephen T Garnett

EMU | CSIRO PUBLISHING | Published : 2017

Abstract

Birds’ wings reflect their life histories, suggesting evolutionary selection for wing shapes and moult strategies. Compared to sedentary species, long-distance migrants have narrower wings (for fast, efficient flight); they have fewer feather faults and avoid moulting flight feathers during migration (to optimise flight surface performance). It is unclear whether these patterns apply to species that fly short-intermediate distances, like tropical nomads. We compared wing shape, feather faulting, and flight-feather moult across five finch species from northern Australia with varying mobility: Pictorella Mannikins (Heteromunia pectoralis) and Gouldian Finches (Erythrura gouldiae) are highly mo..

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University of Melbourne Researchers