Ecomorphological predictors of natal dispersal distances in birds
Article first published online: 24 NOV 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 British Ecological Society
Journal of Animal Ecology
Volume 78, Issue 2, pages 388–395, March 2009
How to Cite
Dawideit, B. A., Phillimore, A. B., Laube, I., Leisler, B. and Böhning-Gaese, K. (2009), Ecomorphological predictors of natal dispersal distances in birds. Journal of Animal Ecology, 78: 388–395. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2008.01504.x
- Issue published online: 9 FEB 2009
- Article first published online: 24 NOV 2008
- Received 24 June 2008; accepted 24 October 2008; Handling Editor: Ben Sheldon
- bill morphology;
- Kipp's distance;
- phylogenetic comparative
- 1Dispersal is one of the key ecological parameters but it is very difficult to quantify directly. As a consequence, empirical studies often ignore dispersal or use indirect measures.
- 2Ringing data have previously been used to estimate the natal dispersal distances of 47 British passerine bird species. This provides an excellent opportunity to examine the potential of various indirect measures to predict natal dispersal distances in British birds.
- 3We use a phylogenetic comparative framework and single- and multipredictor models including ecomorphological, behavioural or ecological traits to predict natal dispersal distance.
- 4A multipredictor model that includes Kipp's distance (a measure of wing tip length), bill depth and tail graduation explains 45% of the interspecific variation in natal dispersal distance. These morphological characters all relate to aerodynamics with stronger flyers dispersing further.
- 5However, an index of migration is a strong (but less informative) correlate of dispersal distance and Kipp's distance and bill depth are strong correlates of migration. Thus, we cannot disentangle whether these ecomorphological traits influence dispersal distance directly or whether the relationship between ecomorphology and dispersal is mediated through migratory behaviour.
- 6Notwithstanding uncertainties regarding the causal links between dispersal distance and wing morphology, we suggest that two ecomorphological traits, Kipp's distance and bill depth, may provide a useful surrogate.