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Molt pattern and duration in a female northern goshawk accipiter gentilis

Molt pattern and duration in a female northern goshawk accipiter gentilis

Journal of Raptor Research 24(4): 91-97

ISSN/ISBN: 0892-1016

The successive molt patterns (1983-2989) of the major flight feathers (alulas, primaries, secondaries and tail) were stdied in a wild bred, captive female German goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). Where possible, the data that each feather was shed was recorded, and the rachis length and thickness measured. The observed variation in the total number of feathers molted each year was due to annual differences in the number of tail and secondary feathers shed. With the exception of 1985, all alulas and primary feathers were replaced annually. The pattern of secondary and tail feather loss in any one year was largely dependent on the molt pattern of the previous year. Although the duration of the overall molt decreased from a maximum of 141 days in 1984 to a minimum of 98 days in 1988, the onset of each molt remained relatively constant between days 134 and 145. The length of 2nd and subsequent primaries was greater than that of the first primaries grown in the nest. A significant thickening of the rachis in some primaries was also found, indicating an increase in feather strength between juvenile and subsequent feathers.

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Accession: 007565349

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