The effects of scaling on age, sex and size relationships in Red-legged Partridges
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Wild birds differ in size according to their age and sex, adult birds being larger than juveniles. In the galliforms, males are larger than females, in contrast to some groups, such as the raptors, in which the females are larger. Size generally influences the rank hierarchy within a group of birds, although the age, sex, temperament and behaviour of an individual may override its size related rank order. The scaled size of birds according to age and sex affects their physiology and behaviour. Precise details of body-size differences by age and sex are poorly known in most partridge species. We measured 13,814 wild partridges in a homogenous population over 14 years of study to evaluate size differences within a uniform habitat and population management regime. We show that wild Red-legged Partridges have scaled mass, and body-and wing-lengths consistent with age/sex classes. Power functions between mass and body-length (as a proxy for walking efficiency), and between mass and wing-length (for flight efficiency) differ between juvenile females and males, and adult females and males. We discuss these findings and their physiological, behavioural and ecological implications.
Is part ofScientific Reports, 2018, vol. 8, núm. 2174, p. 1-7
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