Highlights from the latest issue
October 2018 | Vol. 160, issue 4
The current issue contains 2 Review papers, 11 Original Articles, 5 Short Communications, 3 Viewpoints, notification of the award of the BOU’s Godman Salvin Prize and 49th report of the BOU’s Records Committee (BOURC).
Here are just four of the many highlights in this issue.
Review: Shorebird survival
- Patterns and processes in shorebird survival rates: a global review
Verónica Méndez, José A. Alves, Jennifer A. Gill and Tómas G. Gunnarsson
Migratory shorebirds are often regarded as sentinels of global environmental change due to their worldwide distribution, long-distance migrations and specific habitat requirements. For the conservation of these species we need a clear understanding of demographic factors that lead to changes in abundance of these populations. Verónica Méndez from the University of East Anglia, UK and colleagues from Iceland and Portugal reviewed known estimates of annual adult survival rates to explore phylogenetic, geographical, seasonal and sex‐based variation in survival of shorebirds. Based on mark–recapture models from 56 species they show that survival rates are lower than previously estimated. By incorporating new modelling approaches, Méndez et al. provide adult annual survival estimates for more than 50 species of 15 genera, giving more accurate demographic parameters for conservation of these important shorebird populations.
Original Article: Disease Ecology
- Lethal and sub-lethal impacts of respiratory cryptosporidiosis on Red Grouse, a wild gamebird of economic importance
David Baines, Helen Allinson, James Paul Duff, Harriet Fuller, David Newborn and Michael Richardson
Respiratory cryptosporidiosis was first diagnosed in UK Red Grouse in 2010 and in the following three years was present in grouse on 50-80% of the moors in northern England and North Pennine Hills. David Baines from the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust together with colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Agency in the UK monitored population dynamics of diseased and healthy Red Grouse between 2013 and 2015. They found that 39% of diseased birds died from their infection, whereas 28% of healthy birds were shot and a similar proportion of each group were killed by predators. Productivity was lower among pairs with a diseased member and therefore respiratory infection also reduced the number of birds available to shoot. Baines et al. conclude from this study that this disease is currently a welfare, economic and potentially a future conservation concern if other moorland bird species become infected.
Short Communication: Genetics
- Genetic evidence of hybridization of the world’s most endangered tern, the Chinese Crested Tern Thalasseus bernsteini
Jia Yang, Guoling Chen, Leyang Yuan Qin Huang, Zhongyong Fan, Yiwei Lu, Yang Liu and Shuihua Chen
Hybridization occurs frequently in birds and is particularly common in colonial waterbirds. This may be problematic for species of conservation concern because introgression can erode gene pools and consequently accelerate rates of extinction. In this fascinating new study, Jia Yang Guoling from the Zhejiang Museum of Natural History and collaborators in China, found that hybridization had occurred between the critically endangered Chinese Crested Tern and the Greater Crested Tern. Their phylogenetic analysis revealed that these two terns are sister species, having diverged < 1 million years ago. Yang Guoling et al. suggest that the Chinese Crested Tern is threatened, and urge conservation managers to monitor carefully further hybridization of this endangered tern species. This study highlights clearly the need to study evolutionary changes associated with hybridization in birds, particularly in species vulnerable to extinction. View
- A song for the South also: defining birdsong in global terms
Bo T. Bonnevie and Adrian J. F. K. Craig
Birdsong is one of the most enjoyable and fascinating aspects of ornithology. However, the term ‘song’ is typically restricted to a subset of bird vocalizations and is most frequently described in passerines and only a few other bird groups. In this thought-provoking Viewpoint article, Bo Bonnevie and Adrian Craig from Rhodes University, South Africa highlight that in the southern hemisphere and in tropical regions, bird vocalizations or ‘songs’ are made by both males and females in some species and often throughout the year. Bonnevie and Craig therefore suggest that a more inclusive definition of birdsong is required for both hemispheres (north and south) and strongly encourage researchers to explore explanations of birdsong beyond the traditional boundaries of territory acquisition and maintenance, and mate attraction.
Godman Salvin Prize: Prof Kathy Martin
- Elsie A. Krebs
Whimbrel | Andreas Treppe | CC BY SA 2.5 | Wikimedia Commons
Red Grouse | Alistair Rae | CC BY 2.0 | Flickr
Chinese Crested Tern | Oregon State University | CC BY SA 2.0 | Wikimedia Commons
Common Blackbird | manfredrichter | CC0 | Pixabay.com
Kathy Martin | Dawn Bazely | CC BY‐SA 4.0 | Wikimedia Commons