According to classical prediction of aerodynamic theory, birds and other powered fliers that migrate over long distances should have longer and more pointed wings than those that migrate less. However, the association between wing morphology and migratory behavior can be masked by contrasting selective pressures related to foraging behavior, habitat selection and predator avoidance, possibly at the cost of lower flight energetic efficiency. We studied the handwing morphology of Eurasian barn swallows Hirundo rustica from four populations representing a migration distance gradient. This species is an aerial insectivore, so it flies extensively while foraging, and may migrate during the day using a ‘fly-and-forage’ migration strategy. Prolonged foraging flights may reinforce the effects of migration distance on flight morphology. We found that two wings’ aerodynamic properties – isometric handwing length and pointedness, both favoring energetically efficient flight, were more pronounced in barn swallows from populations undertaking longer seasonal migrations compared to less migratory populations. Our result contrast with two recent interspecific comparative studies that either reported no relationship or reported a negative relationship between pointedness and the degree of migratory behavior in hirundines. Our results may thus contribute to confirming the universality of the rule that longer migrations are associated with more pointed wings.

Wing morphology covaries with migration distance in a highly aerial insectivorous songbird / P. Matyjasiak, C. López-Calderón, R. Ambrosini, J. Balbontín, A. Costanzo, Y. Kiat, A. Romano, D. Rubolini. - In: CURRENT ZOOLOGY. - ISSN 1674-5507. - (2022), pp. zoac044.1-zoac044.9. [Epub ahead of print] [10.1093/cz/zoac044]

Wing morphology covaries with migration distance in a highly aerial insectivorous songbird

R. Ambrosini;A. Costanzo;A. Romano
Penultimo
;
D. Rubolini
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

According to classical prediction of aerodynamic theory, birds and other powered fliers that migrate over long distances should have longer and more pointed wings than those that migrate less. However, the association between wing morphology and migratory behavior can be masked by contrasting selective pressures related to foraging behavior, habitat selection and predator avoidance, possibly at the cost of lower flight energetic efficiency. We studied the handwing morphology of Eurasian barn swallows Hirundo rustica from four populations representing a migration distance gradient. This species is an aerial insectivore, so it flies extensively while foraging, and may migrate during the day using a ‘fly-and-forage’ migration strategy. Prolonged foraging flights may reinforce the effects of migration distance on flight morphology. We found that two wings’ aerodynamic properties – isometric handwing length and pointedness, both favoring energetically efficient flight, were more pronounced in barn swallows from populations undertaking longer seasonal migrations compared to less migratory populations. Our result contrast with two recent interspecific comparative studies that either reported no relationship or reported a negative relationship between pointedness and the degree of migratory behavior in hirundines. Our results may thus contribute to confirming the universality of the rule that longer migrations are associated with more pointed wings.
Settore BIO/07 - Ecologia
1-giu-2022
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/933086
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