Ardea
Official journal of the Netherlands Ornithologists' Union

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PĂ©rez-Granados C. (2020) Post-juvenile and post-breeding moult of the Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura in south-eastern Spain: slowed down due to climatic aridity? ARDEA 108 (1): 7-7
Despite increasing interest in moult in birds, there are still clear gaps in our knowledge of this topic. For example, many aspects of the moult of several European passerines remain unknown. Here, I describe the extent of the postjuvenile and the post-breeding moult of Black Wheatears Oenanthe leucura in south-eastern Spain and analyse the possible influence of ecological factors on moult in this species. The post-juvenile moult of Black Wheatears involved a variable number of greater coverts (six in most cases), but tertials, alula feathers and the carpal covert were also moulted frequently. Primaries were never moulted, while secondaries and tail feathers were moulted in 1.5% of 65 birds. The number of feathers moulted in the post-juvenile moult was not related to sex or individuals’ body size. The post-breeding moult occurred between late June and mid-November and followed the typical sequence of European passerines. It had a mean duration of 145 days, with no differences between sexes or years. The body condition of wheatears did not decrease as the moult advanced. The duration of the post-breeding moult of Black Wheatears was almost double the mean duration described for European passerines and is among the longest period ever described for passerines. The resident status and medium size of the species may partly explain the long duration of the post-breeding moult, but the low seasonality and high aridity of the study area seem to be the main drivers of the pattern found.


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