Ontogeny of large birds: Migrants do it faster

Shai Meiri*, Yoram Yom-Tov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We compared incubation and fledging times between large (>2 kg) migrating and sedentary birds. We found that while length of incubation period does not differ between migrants and nonmigrants, fledging period is significantly shorter in the former. This pattern is apparent in the class as a whole, as well as within orders, families, and genera. Additional, albeit weak, evidence suggests that clutch sizes of migrants are smaller than those of closely related resident birds. We hypothesize that the need to migrate constrains the length of developmental period of large migrating birds, especially in species that undertake long-distance migration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-548
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Body size
  • Constraints
  • Development
  • Fledging
  • Incubation
  • Migration


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