Document Detail

Long-distance migrating species of birds travel in larger groups.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21525051     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
How individuals migrate over long distances is an enduring mystery of animal migration. Strong selection pressure for travelling in groups has been suggested in long-distance migrating species. Travelling in groups can reduce the energetic demands of long migration, increase navigational accuracy and favour group foraging at migratory halts. Nevertheless, this hypothesis has received scant attention. I examined evolutionary transitions in migration distance in all North American breeding species of birds. I documented 72 evolutionary shifts in migration distance in the pool of 409 species. In contrasting clades, long-distance migration, as opposed to short-distance migration, was associated with a larger travelling group size. No other transitions occurred alongside in other traits such as group size in the non-breeding season or body mass. The results suggest that larger group sizes have been beneficial in the evolution of long-distance migration in a large clade of birds.
Guy Beauchamp
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2011-04-27
Journal Detail:
Title:  Biology letters     Volume:  7     ISSN:  1744-957X     ISO Abbreviation:  Biol. Lett.     Publication Date:  2011 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-09-13     Completed Date:  2011-12-22     Revised Date:  2013-06-30    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101247722     Medline TA:  Biol Lett     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  692-4     Citation Subset:  IM    
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Montreal, PO Box 5000, St-Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Migration*
Birds / physiology*
Group Processes
North America

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