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A. E. Jahn, D. J. Levey, J. A. Hostetler & A. M. Mamani (2010) Determinants of partial bird migration in the Amazon Basin. Journal of Animal Ecology, 79, 983–992.

Partial migration, in which only some individuals of a species migrate, might be central to the evolution of migratory behaviour and is likely to represent an evolutionary transition between sedentariness and complete migration. In one of the few detailed, individual-based migration studies of tropical birds, Jahn et al. study the partial migration system of a South American bird species for the first time. Food limitation forces the large adult males and small, young females to migrate, contrary to the expectations of the body size and dominance hypotheses. This study confirms the importance of food variability as the primary driver of migratory behaviour. There is urgent need for similar studies on the movement ecology of understudied tropical bird species, whose diversity of migratory behaviour can shed light on the evolution of bird migration.