Latitudinal clines in sex ratio during the nonbreeding season occur in some shorebirds of the Scolopacidae. We compared populations of nonbreeding Dunlin (Calidris alpina pacifica) from two latitudes along the Pacific flyway: the Fraser River Delta, British Columbia, and Bolinas Lagoon, California, to determine whether, and to what degree, they exhibited sex ratios consistent with a latitudinal cline. Dunlin are plumage monomorphic, so we used a maximum likelihood model to estimate overall and monthly sex ratios for each population based on culmen length distributions. Sex ratios in the Fraser River Delta were corrected for sex differences in habitat use. Monthly sex ratios were similar at the two sites but varied throughout the winter, likely reflecting differences in seasonal movement patterns between the sexes. Both populations showed an overall bias toward males (Fraser = 61% males, Bolinas = 65% males). Since there is no evidence to support the possibility of a skew toward males in C. a. pacifica as a whole, our data are consistent with some form of latitudinal cline in the sex ratio of C. a. pacifica. However, additional data from the Oregon coast, southern California, and Mexico are required to resolve this question. We also tested the hypothesis that mean body size within each sex is larger at the higher-latitude site (Fraser River Delta), but this did not appear to be the case.
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Vol. 103 • No. 2