Data from: Why migrate during the day: a comparative analysis of North American birds
Beauchamp, Guy (2011), Data from: Why migrate during the day: a comparative analysis of North American birds, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.12d23
Migration can take place primarily during the day, or at night, or during both depending on the species. Why the timing of migration varies among species has been the object of much research but the underlying ecological processes are still unclear. Proximally, migration timing may be influenced by the timing of other activities or may be more prevalent in species that migrate over long distances. Adaptive scenarios emphasize the reduction in flight costs at night especially in smaller species and the advantages of travelling in groups during the day to locate staging sites more efficiently. I used phylogenetic independent contrasts to examine these hypotheses in all North American nesting birds. I uncovered 24 evolutionary transitions in migration timing, most of which involved a switch from nocturnal to diurnal migration. Few of these transitions involved a concomitant change in the timing of foraging habits or migration distance. However, species in diurnal clades were larger, travelled in larger flocks and were generally more sociable than their nocturnal counterparts. The results support the hypotheses that a reduction in flight costs and the ability to pool information from companions are associated with migration timing in North American bird species.