The use of feather length as a method formeasuring the wing shape of passerines

PILASTRO A., FARRONATO I. and FRACASSO G.



Abstract:

The method normally used to measure the wing shape in both live birds and museum skins, is based on the measurement of the distance between the tip of each primary and the tip of the folded wing. This method has two essential shortcomings: it does not allow to compare live birds with museum skins and it is difficult to standardise when different observers are involved. It seems therefore inadeguate for studying the wing shape variation ofpopulations breeding on a large geographical range. Here we propose to use the total feather length for measuring the wing shape. This will allow to compare living birds with museum skins and to obtain comparable results from different ringers.