Evolution of island warblers : beyond bills and masses

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LEISLER, Bernd, Hans WINKLER, 2015. Evolution of island warblers : beyond bills and masses. In: Journal of Avian Biology. 46(3), pp. 236-244. ISSN 0908-8857. eISSN 1600-048X. Available under: doi: 10.1111/jav.00509

@article{Leisler2015Evolu-31692, title={Evolution of island warblers : beyond bills and masses}, year={2015}, doi={10.1111/jav.00509}, number={3}, volume={46}, issn={0908-8857}, journal={Journal of Avian Biology}, pages={236--244}, author={Leisler, Bernd and Winkler, Hans} }

Evolution of island warblers : beyond bills and masses 2015-09-05T10:25:11Z In this paper, we take a closer look into the evolution of Acrocephalus warblers on islands in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. The shape-related morphological evolution of island species is characterized by changes in the hind limb, flight, and feeding apparatus. Birds on islands converged to a morphology with strong legs, shorter rictal bristles, and rounder, more slotted and broader wings. Because of their high variance among islands, body size and bill dimensions did not contribute to the separation of continental and island forms, although bills tend to be longer on islands. The wings of island birds hardly vary among islands, unsurprisingly due to a lack of the adaptive features associated with long distance flights. The tendency towards shorter rictal bristles in the island warblers can be explained by the diminished role of aerial feeding, and closer contact with various substrates in the course of extractive foraging. The shift towards stronger legs in several insular species is remarkable because reed warblers on continents have even stronger legs than other passerines of comparable size. This trait correlates with diverse, acrobatic feeding techniques that are typically associated with broad habitat use. Bills reach extreme lengths on some islands. However, short bills occur as frequently, rendering this character highly variable among islands. Short bills indicate gleaning feeding techniques, whereas long bills are typical for species that pursue hidden and difficult-to-access prey. Body sizes differ greatly from island to island. On average, the sizes of island birds do not differ from continental ones, however. We suggest that vegetation clutter is the major driving force for this variation.<br /><br />The main conclusion following from our results is that evolution on islands pertains to all functional complexes, and not only the hitherto studied body size and bill dimensions. Winkler, Hans Winkler, Hans Leisler, Bernd Leisler, Bernd 2015-09-05T10:25:11Z 2015 eng

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