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Genetic markers validate using the natural phenotypic characteristics of shed feathers to identify individual northern goshawks Accipiter gentilis [Journal of Avian Biology]

par Frédéric Magné - publié le , mis à jour le

The recognition of individual animals is essential for many types of ecological research, as it enables estimates of demographic parameters such as population size, survival and reproductive rates. A popular method of visually identifying individuals uses natural variations in spot, stripe or scar markings. Although several studies have assessed the accuracy of these methods in mammals, crustaceans and fish, there have been few attempts to determine whether phenotypic characteristics are accurate when used for birds. Furthermore, even less is known about whether shed or moulted body parts can be reliably used to visually identify individuals. Here we assessed the accuracy of using phenotypic characteristics to identify avian individuals using a double-marking experiment, whereby nine microsatellite genetic markers and natural markings on shed feathers were used to independently identify northern goshawks Accipiter gentilis.(...)

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