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    Species subjected to more variable environments should have greater phenotypic plasticity than those that are more restricted to specific habitat types leading to the expectation that migratory birds should be relatively more plastic than resident birds. We tested this comparatively by studying variation in flight initiation distance (FID), a well-studied antipredator behaviour. We predicted that variation in FID would be greater for migratory species because they encountered a variety of locations during their lives and therefore had less predictable assessments of risk compared to more sedentary species. Contrary to our prediction, we found that non-migratory species (sedentary) had greater variation in FID than migratory ones. Migratory and partially migratory birds had greater average FIDs than sedentary birds, suggesting that they were generally more wary. These results suggest that the predictability associated with not migrating permits more nuanced risk assessment which was seen in the greater variation in FID of sedentary bird species. © 2022. The Author(s).


    Federico Morelli, Yanina Benedetti, Daniel T Blumstein. Resident birds are more behaviourally plastic than migrants. Scientific reports. 2022 Apr 06;12(1):5743

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    PMID: 35388121

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