Data from: Sexual selection, feather wear, and time constraints on the pre-basic molt explain the acquisition of the pre-alternate molt in European passerines
Cuervo, José J.; Morales, Judith; Soler, Juan J.; Moreno, Juan (2022), Data from: Sexual selection, feather wear, and time constraints on the pre-basic molt explain the acquisition of the pre-alternate molt in European passerines, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m905qfv4c
Avian feathers need to be replaced periodically to fulfill their functions, with natural, social, and sexual selection presumably driving the evolution of molting strategies. In temperate birds, a common pattern is to molt feathers immediately after the breeding season, the pre-basic molt. However, some species undergo another molt in winter-spring, the pre-alternate molt. Using a sample of 188 European passerine species, Bayesian phylogenetic mixed models, and correlated evolution analyses, we tested whether the occurrence of the pre-alternate molt was positively associated with proxies for sexual selection (sexual selection hypothesis) and non-sexual social selection (social selection hypothesis) and with factors related to feather wear (feather wear hypothesis) and time constraints on the pre-basic molt (time constraints hypothesis). We found that the pre-alternate molt was more frequent in migratory and less gregarious species inhabiting open/xeric habitats and feeding on the wing, and marginally more frequent in species with strong sexual selection and those showing a winter territorial behavior. Moreover, an increase in migratory behavior and sexual selection intensity preceded the acquisition of the pre-alternate molt. These results provide support for the feather wear hypothesis, partial support for the sexual selection and time constraints hypotheses, and no support for the social selection hypothesis.
Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, European Regional Development Fund