Data from: Males migrate farther than females in a differential migrant: an examination of the fasting endurance hypothesis
Gow, Elizabeth A.; Wiebe, Karen L. (2014), Data from: Males migrate farther than females in a differential migrant: an examination of the fasting endurance hypothesis, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0r86b
Patterns of migration including connectivity between breeding and non-breeding populations and intraspecific variation in the distance travelled are important to study because they can affect individual fitness and population dynamics. Using data from 182 band recoveries across North America and 17 light-level geolocators, we examined the migration patterns of the northern flicker (Colaptes auratus), a migratory woodpecker. This species is unusual among birds because males invest more in parental care than females. Breeding latitude was positively correlated to migration distance because populations in the north appeared to travel farther distances than southern populations to find wintering locations with little snow cover. Connectivity was strong for populations west and east of the Continental Divide. Contrary to the three main hypotheses for intraspecific variation in migration distance, females wintered, on average, farther north than males, although there was overlap throughout their non-breeding range. This pattern contradicts those of other species found to date and is most consistent with the fasting endurance hypothesis if investment in parental care depletes the energy reserves of male flickers more than females. We thus propose a new factor, parental effort, which may influence optimal wintering areas and migration strategies within birds, and encourage future experimental studies to test the relationship between parental care roles and migration strategies of the sexes.