Low asymmetry of primary moult in Dunlins Calidris alpina alpina migrating to wintering grounds

Włodzimierz Meissner , Grzegorz Zaniewicz , Andrzej Kośmicki , Anna Włodarczak-Komosińska


The Dunlin is one of very few wader species that moults primaries when migrating to its wintering grounds. In our study, a total of 68.2% of immatures and 26.6% of adults underwent their primary moult when passing through the southern Baltic in autumn. More than 30% of moulting birds revealed differences in moult scores of left and right wings. However, 13% of Dunlins showed differences between the left and right wing not greater than 1%, and 50% of individuals showed differences between the two wings that were lower than 3% of the total mass of all primaries. The probability of asymmetry during the primary moult increased over time and decreased with the advancement of the primary moult. Sex and age of birds had no significant effect on the occurrence of moult asymmetry. The level of asymmetry in the primary moult increased in the following days of autumn migration and with the advancement of the primary moult. The mean index of primary moult asymmetry (the absolute value of the difference in moult advancement between the left and right wing) was lower in immature Dunlins than in adults, and in females compared to males. Hence, sex (males) and age classes (adults) that spend a longer time on the breeding grounds revealed a higher index of primary moult asymmetry, most probably as a result of higher levels of physiological stress. However, the low proportion of birds showing large asymmetry suggests that this is strongly constrained by selection for aerodynamic efficiency, as asymmetry in primaries affects aerodynamic stability, take-off costs, manoeuvrability and agility in birds with flapping flight.
Author Włodzimierz Meissner (FB / DVEZ)
Włodzimierz Meissner,,
- Department of Vertebrate Ecology and Zoology
, Grzegorz Zaniewicz (FB / DVEZ)
Grzegorz Zaniewicz,,
- Department of Vertebrate Ecology and Zoology
, Andrzej Kośmicki
Andrzej Kośmicki,,
, Anna Włodarczak-Komosińska
Anna Włodarczak-Komosińska,,
Other language title versionsGeringe Asymmetrie in der Handschwingenmauser von Alpenstrandläufern Calidris alpina alpina auf dem Zug ins Winterquartier
Journal seriesJournal of Ornithology, ISSN 0021-8375, (N/A 140 pkt)
Issue year2019
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in EnglishWing asymmetry, fluctuating asymmetry, stress, waders, aerodynamic efficiency
ASJC Classification1103 Animal Science and Zoology
URL https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-018-1602-8
Languageen angielski
LicenseOther; published final; Uznanie Autorstwa (CC-BY); with publication
Score (nominal)140
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 140.0, 17-11-2019, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators WoS Citations = 0; Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 0.801; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 1.954 (2) - 2017=2.008 (5)
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