Moult and plumage

  title={Moult and plumage},
  author={Ian Newton},
  journal={Ringing \& Migration},
  pages={220 - 226}
  • I. Newton
  • Published 1 January 2009
  • Biology
  • Ringing & Migration
Moult is one of the three main energy‐demanding events in the yearly cycles of birds, and in most species occurs at a different time from breeding and migration. The sequence in which these events occur varies according to the ecological circumstances in which particular populations live, and in general moult is more variable in timing than other events. Some migratory birds moult in their breeding areas after nesting is over; others moult at a staging area on migration; while others moult in… 

Complete Post-Juvenile Moult in First-Year Blackcaps: Proximate Causes and Adaptive Implications

It is shown that previously undetected variation among post-juvenile moult patterns is present in wild blackcaps and suggested that variation in the expression of important life-history traits could represent a potential reservoir for adaptive changes.

Moult in Birds of Prey: A Review of Current Knowledge and Future Challenges for Research

The importance of the annual moult process for providing a “fixed image” of an individual's biology and underline its utility in furthering knowledge of the life history of each species is stressed.

Partial or complete? The evolution of post-juvenile moult strategies in passerine birds.

The evolution of complete post-juvenile moult not only depends on whether birds can perform a complete moult (i.e. suitable environmental conditions) but also on the strength of selection associated with the need of acomplete moult.

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The moult package for R implements the Underhill-Zucchini models, allowing the user to specify moult models in a regression type formula, and the functions allow the moult parameters to depend on explanatory variables.

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The study showed that breeding Commons Swifts are able to regulate their moult when already engaged in rearing young, and both immature and adult Swifts start their primary moult before leaving Europe towards their African winter quarters.

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The finding that the extension of the suspended moult was already defined in migratory individuals might be explained as an adaptation to minimize the energy required for moulting during migration.

The flight feather moult pattern of the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)

In general, the moult lasted until November, and although adults started to moult later than subadults, they moulted more feathers, and the extent and timing of flight feather moult was different between age classes.

Conditions at the breeding grounds and migration strategy shape different moult patterns of two populations of Eurasian golden plover Pluvialis apricaria

It is concluded that environmental conditions and migration strategy affect the annual scheduling of primary feather moult in the Eurasian golden plover.

Non‐moulted primary coverts correlate with rapid primary moulting

Because the PC moult lasts a long time, forgoing this moult enables long term resource savings that allow for dealing with time constraints, and highlights the adaptive advantages of non-moulted PCs in cases of time constraints.



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Timing and duration of moult in the Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula: an appraisal of different analytical procedures

The Underhill-Zucchini model was evaluated and it was found that only data incorporating observations of non-moulting as well as of moulting birds (but without individual moult scores) gave unbiased estimates of moult rate (and duration) as judged from rates obtained from recaptures of the same individuals.

An alternative approach to the measurement of seasonal trends in bird breeding success: a case study of the bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula

This study provided information on seasonal productivity that was practically impossible to obtain in this species by conventional nest finding and suggested that an interaction between the seasonal pattern of breeding in particular years and a seasonal trend in predation on nest contents, had major effects on overall annual productivity.

Moults and weights of captive RedpollsCarduelis flammea

  • I. Newton
  • Biology
    Journal für Ornithologie
  • 2005
The moults of these captive Redpolls are closely similar to those of the wild birds studied by Evans (1966, 1969) andEvans et al. (1967), and it is suggested that the reduction of fat during the moult of captive birds is the result of a distinct physiological condition prevailing at this time that prevented excessive fat-storage.

Moult in birds

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Data on moult pattern and estimated moult duration for a sample of species shows unexpectedly rapid moult among individuals of several species, notably the Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus and the Sedge Warbler A. schoenobaenus.

Estimation of the Duration of Bird Molt

The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to a potential pitfall in the estimation of the duration of molt from regression analyses using molt score data.


The Brown Noddy is the closest relative of the Black, and what little is known of its breeding biology suggests it is less specialised for nesting above the ground, and that its ability to nest on the ground as well as in bushes and trees allows it to breed in localities where the Black Noddy could not.

A model for avian primary moult

The regression methods frequently used to estimate the parameters associated with primary moult in birds are unsatisfactory. Results obtained using least squares regression, and various ad hoc