1. Bird Migration

To: Dr Richard Nowotny <>
Subject: 1. Bird Migration
From: Hugo Phillipps <>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 10:22:03 +1000
Richard -

At 11:06 PM 23/08/03, you wrote:
What are the scientific reasons/theories for these complex and frequently very long migration patterns, ie what are the present (or past - assuming that it is now genetically-acquired behaviour, which may not any longer actually be necessary) survival advantages of making such a flight, over the obvious disadvantages. Does it date back to a previous age when the advantages were more apparent, or are the present advantages of migration still so great that the behaviour continues to be truly necessary?

With regard to the migratory waders or shorebirds, and further to Tony Crocker's response; there are examples of migratory species splitting into migratory and non-migratory forms. One of the more obvious ones in Australia is the Red-capped Plover splitting off from Kentish Plover stock. Another (presumably somewhat older) split is Inland Dotterel from Eurasian Dotterel. It seems to have happened around the world more with the plovers than the sandpipers - maybe because of less specialised feeding methods and equipment in the former. However, see the scattered distribution of isolated taxa of woodcocks and NZ snipe in the Asian and Australasian regions - and the Prosobonia sandpipers of the Pacific. Did these derive from populations of migratory ancestors in which some individuals stopped migrating?


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