Feathers in captive birds change, survival chances plummet


New Australian Studies It provides the first direct evidence that wing shape changes during breeding in captivity can cause migratory difficulties in released birds.

The results may force conservationists to rethink how they keep birds in captivity.

“This is the first evidence that wing shape changes are detrimental to wildlife,” said Dr. Dejan Stojanovic, a conservation biologist and researcher at the Australian National University. Cosmos Science.

“This study showed that previously discovered differences in wing shape between captive and wild orange-bellied parrots make important differences in survival.”

Stojanovic is the sole investigator of the new paper, ecology letter.

Of the 16 native bird species Stojanovic examined (including parrots, cockatiels and finches), four had changes in their “flying plumage” in captivity.

Flight feathers are long, stiff feathers on the wings and tails of birds that help them fly. It seems that even these small changes can be a big problem.

Stojanovic found that orange-bellied parrots with altered flight plumage had a 2.7-fold lower migratory survival rate than ‘wild-type’ wing-shaped ones.

“The species is captive-bred in a very good and well-resourced breeding program with multiple partners, so it’s an excellent case study to examine the impact of captive breeding,” he said.

“They are one of Australia’s most endangered birds, and their straight-on bus journey between Tasmania and the south coast of the mainland is unusual for a parrot.

“80% of juvenile orange-bellied parrots die on their first migration, so every individual counts!”

Stojanovic says the finding is such an important part of species management that it doesn’t mean the breeding program should be abandoned, but it needs more research on how to fix this. suggesting what needs to be done. analysis.

“This study highlights that it is the quality (rather than quantity) of animals raised in captivity that determines whether they can survive in the wild after being released.”

This research ecology letter.

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