We attempted to distinguish spring passage migrant Tropical Kingbirds (Tyrannus melancholicus) from resident conspecifics where they overlap in South America. Migrant males at our Bolivian study site had significantly less tail feather molt and longer wing chords than resident males. Migrant females had significantly longer wing chords, less flight feather molt, and less flight feather wear than resident females. We found no evidence of genetic population differentiation between migrants and residents. We also compared wing chords of migrants and residents to those of breeding kingbirds in breeding populations further south. Wing chords of migrants were more similar to those of breeders from further south than to those of breeders at our study site. An ability to distinguish migrant from resident conspecifics will be critical to understanding migrant winter ecology, migratory routes, and connectivity of migratory populations in South America.
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