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Plumage development and post-juvenile moult in the Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Chris RedfernORCiD


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Sedge Warblers Acrocephalus schoenobaenus are reported to have no partial post-juvenile moult before migration, but this is uncertain and controversial. To resolve this issue, feather growth and development was studied in nestling, juvenile and 1st-calendar-year Sedge Warblers. Two phases of feather growth, representing growth of juvenile feathers in the main feather tracts of nestlings, and, within a few days of fledging, the later growth of feathers along the margins of the mid-dorsal tract, the ventral apterium and under-wing remigial coverts, are described. In addition, replacement of some dorsal-tract juvenile feathers was observed in 19% of birds and may represent the initiation of post-juvenile moult. These data indicate that a proportion of juvenile Sedge Warblers in northern England may initiate post-juvenile moult before migration. This observation is discussed in the context of strategies for moult, dispersal and migration in Acrocephalus species and highlights the need for a greater understanding of the physiological control of moult in relation to dispersal and migration.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Redfern, C.P.F., Alker, P.J.

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Avian Biology

Year: 1996

Volume: 27

Issue: 2

Pages: 157-163

Print publication date: 01/06/1996

ISSN (print): 0908-8857

ISSN (electronic): 1600-048X


DOI: 10.2307/3677145


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