Orientation in captive migratory and sedentary Australian silvereyes Zosterops lateralis (Zosteropidae)

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Journal Article
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2007, 61 (3), pp. 337 - 345
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The orientation of two closely related subspecies of Australian silvereye Zosterops lateralis was studied in captivity over 14 months. Migratory silvereyes Z. lateralis lateralis showed significant directional preferences during the spring and autumn migration periods and also displayed orientated behaviour during the breeding period. In contrast, the non-migratory subspecies Z. lateralis familiaris did not display any significant directional preferences at any time. This is the first time that the orientation behaviour of a migratory and non-migratory subspecies has been compared over the duration of an annual cycle, both during and outside the migratory periods. The results suggest that migratory silvereyes possess an endogenous program determining the timing and direction of autumn and spring migration and that this program is unique to the migratory subspecies. This is also the first comparison of this nature on southern hemisphere birds and demonstrates that the migratory behaviour of southern hemisphere migrants may be more similar to that of northern hemisphere migrants than previously thought. © 2006 Springer-Verlag.
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