Evol Ecol Res 8: 731-752 (2006)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Relationships of anti-predator escape and post-escape responses with body mass and morphology: a comparative avian study

Esteban Fernández-Juricic,1* Daniel T. Blumstein,2 Gerardo Abrica,1 Lisa Manriquez,1 Laura Bandy Adams,1 Robert Adams,1 Monica Daneshrad1 and Iñaki Rodriguez-Prieto3

1Department of Biological Sciences, California State University, Long Beach, CA, USA, 2Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA and  3Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid, Spain

Address all correspondence to Esteban Fernández-Juricic, Department of Biological Sciences, California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard (Mailstop 3702), Long Beach, CA 90840-3702, USA.
e-mail: efernand@csulb.edu


Background: Pointed and concave wingtips and shorter hind limbs make birds more vulnerable to predation.

Question: Do behavioural anti-predator escape and post-escape responses compensate for these morphological characters that increase vulnerability to predation?

Data studied: Body mass and size, indices of wingtip shape and hind limb length, flight initiation distance (the distance at which birds escape from a threat), and landing distance (the distance at which birds land after escaping from a threat) of 83 birds, mostly from North America, Europe, and Australia. Relationship data came mostly from molecular sources.

Search method: Phylogenetically uncorrected: We regressed flight initiation distance and landing distance in different analyses on body mass and size, wing pointedness and convexity, femur and tarsus length. Phylogenetically corrected: We calculated independent contrasts with Compare 4.5 (Martins, 2004), ignoring branch lengths throughout.

Conclusions: Birds with more pointed wings fled at longer distances and landed farther away than species with rounded wings, but hind limb length was not associated with flight initiation distance and landing distance.

Keywords: flight initiation distance, hind limb morphology, landing distance, migratory species, predation, wingtip shape.

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