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1 September 2012 Incidence of Wing Deformities (‘Angel Wing’) Among Masked Boobies at Clipperton Island: Life History Consequences and Insight into Etiology
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Abstract

‘Angel wing’ is a developmental wing deformity among birds that can cause flightlessness; it is mostly known from domestic birds, especially waterfowl, and has only rarely been reported among wild bird populations. We estimated that 460 (4.4%) Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra) chicks on Clipperton Island (10° 18′ N, 109° 13′ W) in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean exhibited angel wing during March 2005. Both hatching-year birds and after-hatching-year birds exhibited the condition; the latter included seven flightless birds in adult plumage (i.e., minimum 2 yrs of age) which were still being fed by their presumed parents. The angel wing outbreak coincided in time with high nestling mortality, apparently related to food shortage, and we speculate on causal linkages.

Robert L. Pitman, Lisa T. Ballance, and Charles A. Bost "Incidence of Wing Deformities (‘Angel Wing’) Among Masked Boobies at Clipperton Island: Life History Consequences and Insight into Etiology," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 124(3), (1 September 2012). https://doi.org/10.1676/11-208.1
Received: 8 December 2011; Accepted: 1 March 2012; Published: 1 September 2012
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