3 years ago

Temporal and spatial patterns of flight and body feather molt of Bank, Barn, and Cliff swallows in North and South America

Sievert Rohwer, Belen Garcia-Perez, Rolanda J. Steenweg, Keith A. Hobson, Tara L. Imlay
Molt is energetically demanding and various molt strategies (i.e., molt series, duration, intensity, timing, and location) have evolved to reduce the negative fitness consequences of this process. As such, molt varies considerably among species. Identifying where and when specific feathers are molted is also crucial to inform species-specific studies using stable isotope markers to assign individuals to geographical regions where they molt. Using museum specimens, we examined the molt of three species of migratory swallows in the Americas: Bank Swallows (Riparia riparia), Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica), and Cliff Swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota). All three species have one primary and two secondary molt series. Bank and Cliff swallows had one rectrix molt series, and Barn Swallows molted the outer rectrix (R6) separately from the inner five rectrices (R1-5). All three species have a relatively long flight feather molt duration (i.e., 140–183 days) and low molt intensity. Barn Swallows initiated flight feather molt in the fall, about 2 months later than Bank and Cliff swallows. Barn Swallows likely delay molt because of constraints associated with double brooding. For all three species, molt started with the primaries and inner secondaries and was closely followed by the rectrices and, finally, the outer secondaries. For those that began and then interrupted molt either in breeding areas or during fall migration, the first feathers molted were predominantly S8 and P1. All three species underwent body molt throughout the year, but most individuals molted their body plumage in wintering areas. We recommend that the most appropriate feathers for stable isotope research examining migratory connectivity and habitat use are either R2-R4 or S2-S4. Patrones temporales y espaciales de vuelo y muda de plumas en las golondrinas Riparia riparia, Hirundo rustica y Petrochelidon pyrrhonota en norte y sur América La muda es enérgicamente demandante y varias estrategias de muda (i.e., series de muda, duración, intensidad, tiempo y ubicación) han evolucionado para reducir las consecuencias negativas de este proceso sobre la aptitud reproductiva. Como tal, la muda varía considerablemente entre las especies. Identificar dónde y cuándo se mudan determinadas plumas también es crucial para informar a los estudios específicos de especies que usan marcadores de isótopos estables, y así asignar individuos a regiones geográficas donde mudan. Utilizando especímenes de museo, examinamos la muda de tres especies de golondrinas migratorias en las Américas: Riparia riparia, Hirundo rustica y Petrochelidon pyrrhonota. Las tres especies tienen una serie de muda de una primaria y dos secundarias. Las golondrinas R. riparia y P. pyrrhonota tienen una serie de muda de una rectriz, y H. rustica mudó la rectriz externa (R6) independientemente de las cinco rectrices internas (R1-5). Las tres especies tienen una duración de muda de la plumas de vuelo relativamente larga (i.e., 140–183 días) y una baja intensidad de muda. H. rustica inició la muda de plumas de vuelo en el otoño, unos dos meses más tarde de lo que lo hicieron R. riparia y P. pyrrhonota. H. rustica probablemente retrasa la muda debido a las limitaciones asociadas con la doble crianza. Para las tres especies, la muda comenzó con las primarias y secundarias internas y fue seguida de cerca por las rectrices y, finalmente, las secundarias externas. Para aquellos que comenzaron y luego interrumpieron la muda en áreas de reproducción o durante la migración de otoño, las primeras plumas mudadas fueron predominantemente la S8 y P1. Las tres especies experimentaron muda corporal durante todo el año, pero la mayoría de los individuos mudaron su plumaje corporal en áreas de invierno. Recomendamos que las plumas más adecuadas para la investigación de isótopos estables que examinan la conectividad migratoria y el uso del hábitat sean R2-R4 o S2-S4.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/jofo.12235

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