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1 December 2000 Long-Term Variability of Wing Length in a Population of the Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Jacek J. Nowakowski
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4166 measurements of wing length in Reed Warblers were made during 9 breeding and pre-migratory periods in Central Poland. In the studied population there was significant differentiation in the wing length among seasons in adult and juvenile birds. Multiple regression and path analysis showed that weather factors (temperature and precipitation) during the breeding period determine the long-term variation in the wing length in both adult and young birds. Changes in wing length were explained by natural selection and habitat selection. In breeding and pre-migratory periods, temperature and precipitation influence in food availability, and thus affect optimisation of energetic expenses on feeding. It was revealed that long-winged individuals are best adapted to cold and rainy conditions, the short-winged ones, to warm and dry summers. The weather conditions obtaining when the birds arrive at the breeding grounds could be linked to differentiation in availability of optimal places for establishing territories, thereby influencing cempetition for breeding territories and the effectiveness of their occupation by morphometrically different birds.



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Jacek J. Nowakowski "Long-Term Variability of Wing Length in a Population of the Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus," Acta Ornithologica 35(2), 173-182, (1 December 2000).
Received: 1 May 1999; Accepted: 1 June 2000; Published: 1 December 2000

Acrocephalus scirpaceus
biometric variability
Reed Warbler
wing length
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