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Morphological relationships of passerine birds from Australia and New Guinea in relation to their diets

Wooller, R.D. and Richardson, K.C. (1988) Morphological relationships of passerine birds from Australia and New Guinea in relation to their diets. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 94 (2). pp. 193-201.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-3642.1988.tb00106...
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Abstract

Beak, wing, leg and intestinal lengths, and gizzard widths, were all significantly related to body mass in 51 honeyeater species from Australia, 48 honeyeater species from New Guinea and 31 purely insectivorous passerine bird species from Australia. The nectar-feeding honeyeaters had smaller gizzards and intestines than wholly insectivorous birds of comparable size, although their wing and leg lengths did not differ; New Guinean and Australian honeyeaters were similar in these respects. Overall, honeyeaters had longer beaks than pure insectivores. Among Australian honeyeaters, those genera consuming more nectar than insects had longer beaks than the less nectarivorous, more insectivorous genera. Indeed, the latter group had beaks comparable in length to wholly insectivorous birds. All morphological differences revealed were attributable to known differences in diet.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Inc
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/20583
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