Individual Birds (individual + bird)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Contaminant-associated alteration of immune function in black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes), a North Pacific predator

Myra E. Finkelstein
Abstract Environmental pollution is ubiquitous and can pose a significant threat to wild populations through declines in fitness and population numbers. To elucidate the impact of marine pollution on a pelagic species, we assessed whether toxic contaminants accumulated in black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes), a wide-ranging North Pacific predator, are correlated with altered physiological function. Blood samples from adult black-footed albatrosses on Midway Atoll, part of the Hawaiian (USA) archipelago, were analyzed for organochlorines (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs] and chlorinated pesticides), trace metals (silver, cadmium, tin, lead, chromium, nickel, copper, zinc, arsenic, selenium, and total mercury), and a sensitive physiological marker, peripheral white blood cell immune function (mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation and macrophage phagocytosis). We found a positive significant relationship between organochlorines, which were highly correlated within individual birds (p < 0.001, r > 0.80, Spearman correlation for all comparisons; PCBs, 160 ± 60 ng/ml plasma [mean ± standard deviation]; DDTs, 140 ± 180 ng/ml plasma; chlordanes, 7.0 ± 3.6 ng/ml plasma; hexachlorobenzene, 2.4 ± 1.5 ng/ml plasma; n = 15) and increased lymphocyte proliferation (p = 0.020) as well as percentage lymphocytes (p = 0.033). Mercury was elevated in black-footed albatrosses (4,500 ± 870 ng/ml whole blood, n = 15), and high mercury levels appeared to be associated (p = 0.017) with impaired macrophage phagocytosis. The associations we documented between multiple contaminant concentrations and immune function in endangered black-footed albatrosses provide some of the first evidence that albatrosses in the North Pacific may be affected by environmental contamination. Our results raise concern regarding detrimental health effects in pelagic predators exposed to persistent marine pollutants. [source]

Ecologically justified charisma: preservation of top predators delivers biodiversity conservation

Summary 1Because of their popular appeal, top vertebrate predators have frequently been used as flagship or umbrella species to acquire financial support, raise environmental awareness and plan systems of protected areas. However, some have claimed that the utilization of charismatic predators may divert a disproportionate amount of funding to a few glamorous species without delivering broader biodiversity benefits, an accusation aggravated by the fact that the conservation of top predators is often complex, difficult and expensive. Therefore, tests are needed of whether apex predators may be employed to achieve ecosystem-level targets. 2To test such a hypothesis, we compared the biodiversity values recorded at the breeding sites of six raptor species, differing widely in diet and habitat associations, with those observed at three types of control locations, (i) sites randomly chosen in comparable habitat, (ii) breeding sites of a randomly selected bird species of lower trophic level and (iii) breeding sites of a lower trophic level species with specialized ecological requirements. Biodiversity was measured as the richness and evenness of bird, butterfly and tree species. 3Biodiversity levels were consistently higher at sites occupied by top predators than at any of the three types of control sites. Furthermore, sites occupied by top predators also held greater densities of individual birds and butterflies (all species combined) than control sites. 4In a reserve-selection simulation exercise, networks of protected sites constructed on the basis of top predators were more efficient than networks based on lower trophic level species, enabling higher biodiversity coverage to be achieved with a smaller number of reserves. 5Synthesis and applications. Our results provide evidence of a link between the strategic utilization of top predatory species and ecosystem-level conservation. We suggest that, at least in some biological systems, conservation plans based on apex predators could be implemented to deliver broader biodiversity benefits. [source]

A new method for sexing Oriental White Storks

Seokwan Cheong
ABSTRACT For species where males and females are monomorphic, or nearly so, determining the sex of individual birds generally requires either capturing birds or collecting samples, such as feathers, for DNA analysis. We developed a new method, involving the use of photographs, to determine the sex of endangered Oriental White Storks (Ciconia boyciana). Using photographs, we analyzed the lateral features of the heads of 25 captive storks of known sex (12 males and 13 females) and found differences between males and females in the distance from the bill tip to the nape and the distance from the bill tip to the commissural point. These differences were used to generate a discriminant function that was then tested on 22 captive storks at Hyogo Homeland Park (Toyooka, Japan), and we correctly determined the sex of 18 individuals (82%). In addition, the sex of two wild storks was correctly assigned. Our results suggest that good-quality photographs can be useful for determining the sex of both captive and wild Oriental White Storks and, further, that similar methods may prove useful for determining sex in other species of birds. SINOPSIS Para especies monomórficas, o muy parecidas, el determinar el sexo de individuos por lo general requiere capturar las aves o coleccionar muestras, tales como plumas, para hacer análisis de ADN. Desarrollamos un método que envuelve el uso de fotografías, para determinar el sexo en individuos de Ciconia boyciana, la cual es una especie en peligro de extinción. Mediante el uso de fotografías, pudimos analizar las particularidades de la parte lateral de la cabeza de 25 individuos cautivos de sexo conocido (12 machos y 13 hembras). Encontramos diferencias sexuales entre la distancia desde la punta del pico a la nuca, y desde la punta del pico al punto de la comisura mandibular. Estas diferencias fueron utilizadas para generar una función discriminativa que fue puesta a pruebas en 22 individuos cautivos que se encontraban en Hyogo Homeland Park (Toyooka, Japón) y que permitió determinar el sexo correctamente de 18 individuos (82% de estos). Además pudimos determinar correctamente el sexo de dos individuos silvestres. Nuestros resultados sugieren que con buenas fotografías se puede identificar el sexo, tanto de individuos silvestres como cautivos, de Ciconia boyciana y que métodos similares pudieran ser útiles para determinar el sexo de otras especies de aves. [source]

Continuous, age-related plumage variation in male Kirtland's Warblers

John R. Probst
ABSTRACT The ability to age individual birds visually in the field based on plumage variation could provide important demographic and biogeographical information. We describe an approach to infer ages from a distribution of plumage scores of free-ranging male Kirtland's Warblers (Dendroica kirtlandii). We assigned ages to males using a scoring scheme (0,12 points) based on variation in plumage coloration, brightness, and contrast on three dorsal and three ventral body regions presumed to be age-related. The distribution of total additive plumage scores for 875 breeding males was normally distributed, indicating no distinct age classes. Thus, we developed provisional plumage-age classes of second year (SY) and after second-year (ASY), and compared them to the total plumage scores of a smaller subsample of known age (N= 92) and minimum age (N= 143) males. Plumage scores of known-age male Kirtland's Warblers increased nonlinearly with age (rs= 0.67), but with some overlap. The median plumage score for SY males (median = 5.0) was significantly lower than for third-year (TY) males (median = 7.0) and after third-year (3 year and older) males (median = 8.0), indicating that the plumage of male Kirtland's Warblers becomes more distinctive and brighter with age. Linear discriminant function analysis differentiated ASY male Kirtland's Warbler from SY males with 78.3% accuracy. Investigators could use the distribution of plumage scores and approximate age structures to document changes in male age structure during colonization, use, and abandonment of habitats by Kirtland's Warblers or other species that occupy early successional habitats. Aging free-ranging birds based on a plumage scoring scheme may be especially critical for demographic studies of less-studied species where it is unlikely that a banding program will be initiated, but where plumage-age inferences or management decisions must be made. SINOPSIS Describimos una forma para inferir la edad a través de una distribución de marcadores en machos silvestres de la reinita Dendroica kirtlandii. Utilizando dicho acercamiento, asignamos edad relativa a machos basándonos en un esquema de puntuación (0,12) para la coloración del plumaje, su brillantez, y contraste en tres localidades del dorso y la parte ventral, que han sido relacionadas con la edad de estos. La distribución de las puntuaciones de 875 machos fue normal, lo que indica que no hubo forma de distinguir las diferentes edades. Por ende, desarrollamos un divisiones de clases, basándonos en diferencias en el plumaje para individuos de segundo año (SA) y posterior al segundo año (PSA) y los comparamos a las puntuaciones de una pequeña muestra de aves (N= 92) cuya edad era conocida y a otra en que sabíamos la edad mínima (N= 143). La puntuación total para individuos de edad conocida aumento de forma no-lineal con la edad (Rs = 0.67), con un pequeño solapamiento en el plumaje total. La puntuación para machos de segundo año (SA) (mediana = 5.0) fue significativamente menor que para aves de tercer año (mediana = 7.0) y esta a su vez que para aves mayores a tres años (mediana = 8.0), lo que indica que el plumaje de los machos, en las aves estudiadas, se torna más brillante con la edad. Un análisis lineal de función discriminativa pudo diferenciar entre aves PSA y SA con un 78.3% de exactitud. Los investigadores han utilizado estas diferencias en el plumaje para clasificar entre los grupos machos territoriales que no han sido anillados. También pudieran utilizar estas particularidades y diferencias en el plumaje para aproximar la estructura de edades entre machos silvestres y hacer inferencias sobre la demografía y reclutamiento de aves en habitats de diferente calidad. [source]

Sex determination of Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis calurus) using DNA analysis and morphometrics

Kara C. Donohue
ABSTRACT Currently, the sex of Red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) cannot be determined by in-hand methods. Males and females do not differ in plumage and overlap in size. We collected feather samples and morphological measurements from migrating birds at four sites in the western United States. Sex was determined for individual birds using sex-specific DNA markers and polymerase chain reaction was used to identify these DNA markers. Using discriminant function analysis, we created equations for determining the sex of Red-tailed Hawks using in-hand measurements based on the DNA-determined sexes. We formed two equations, one for adults that was 98% accurate, and one for hatch-year birds that was 97% accurate. The ability to determine the sex of western Red-tailed Hawks using morphological measurements will be useful to investigators examining possible intra- or intersexual differences. SINOPSIS Actualmente no se puede determinar el sexo de Buteo jamaicensis, aun teniendo al ave en la mano. Durante el periodo migratorio tomamos medidas morfométricas y coleccionamos plumas de estas aves en cuatro localidades de la parte oeste de los Estados Unidos. Determinamos el sexo de los individuos utilizando marcadores específicos de ADN para el sexo y reacciones en cadena de polimerasa para identificar los marcadores de ADN. Una vez determinado el sexo por medio de ADN, se hizo un análisis de función discriminativa de los datos para producir una ecuación que permitiera identificar el sexo de las medidas morfométricas de individuos capturados. Se produjeron dos ecuaciones, una para los adultos y otra para jóvenes de un año con 98 y 97% de exactitud, respectivamente. La capacidad para determinar el sexo en la especie, utilizando morfometría será de gran utilidad para investigadores interesados en determinar posibles diferencias intra e intersexuales. [source]

Isolation and characterization of 16 microsatellite loci in the Great Tit Parus major

Verena Saladin
Abstract Six dinucleotide, three trinucleotide and seven tetranucleotide microsatellite loci developed for the great tit Parus major are presented. Thirty individual birds were screened at each locus. Loci were polymorphic (four to 19 alleles per locus). These markers provide a system to study paternity, genetic diversity in natural populations, gene flow, dispersal and inbreeding. [source]

The potential of seed-eating birds to spread viable seeds of weeds and other undesirable plants

Abstract The potential for seed-eating birds to spread viable seeds was investigated using captive-feeding trials to determine seed preference, passage time through the gut, and viability of passed seeds for bronzewing pigeons (Phaps chalcoptera), peaceful doves (Geopelia striata), crested pigeons (Ocyphaps lophotes), Senegal doves (Streptopelia senegalensis), zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), black ducks (Anas superciliosa) and wood ducks (Chenonetta jubata). Test seeds were bladder clover (Trifolium spumosum), crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum), gorse (Ulex europaeus), canola (Brassica napus) and red panicum (Setaria italica). Their consumption was compared with that of commercial seed mixes. Although all test seeds were recognizable foods, their consumption usually decreased in the presence of other foods, except for canola, where consumption rates were maintained. Hard-seeded bladder clover was the only species where viable seeds were passed by obligate seedeaters. In contrast, viable seeds of canola and gorse were passed by seed-eating omnivorous/herbivorous ducks, although the germination of passed seeds (42%) was reduced significantly compared with that of untreated control seed (67%). Field validation with wild, urban bronzewings and Australian magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) offered canola and commercial seed yielded similar outcomes, with a range of viable seeds recovered from magpie soft pellets. Mean seed passage time in captive birds ranged from 0.5 to 4.3 h for all test seeds and commercial seed mixes, suggesting that these bird species may potentially disperse seed over moderate distances. Despite the low probability of individual birds spreading viable seed, the high number of birds feeding in the wild suggests that the potential for granivorous and seed-eating omnivorous birds to disperse viable seeds cannot be discounted, particularly if exozoochorous dispersal is also considered. [source]

Analysis of Capture,Recapture Models with Individual Covariates Using Data Augmentation

BIOMETRICS, Issue 1 2009
J. Andrew Royle
Summary I consider the analysis of capture,recapture models with individual covariates that influence detection probability. Bayesian analysis of the joint likelihood is carried out using a flexible data augmentation scheme that facilitates analysis by Markov chain Monte Carlo methods, and a simple and straightforward implementation in freely available software. This approach is applied to a study of meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) in which auxiliary data on a continuous covariate (body mass) are recorded, and it is thought that detection probability is related to body mass. In a second example, the model is applied to an aerial waterfowl survey in which a double-observer protocol is used. The fundamental unit of observation is the cluster of individual birds, and the size of the cluster (a discrete covariate) is used as a covariate on detection probability. [source]