Moult in birds

A guide to how birds moult, covering plumage and feathers, the annual cycle and moult and the sequence and duration of moult - as well as how to record it.

This book provides essential information on moult strategy passerines and non-passerines that occur in Britain and Ireland, covering the biology behind this facinating process that takes up so much energy and time in the lives of birds. Each species is considered separately, and their full English and Latin names are given, together with the number of primaries, secondaries, and rectrices (tail feathers) to be expected, which helps identify missing feathers in less familiar species. The moult strategies of adults and juveniles are described separately and in great detail, including the duration and the sequence of moult. The number of samples that the information is based on and some references are also provided, together with graphs of moult score in relation to month of the year.

The first part of the book offers a concise and useful description and drawings of feather types and their arrangement on the bird, to help identification in the hand. Moult is put into context of the annual cycle, and the typical moult sequences of passerine and non-passerine species are also considered. The guide also covers how to record moult data, including what score to give to each feather, with helpful drawings and diagrams.

Moult is the key to ageing birds, and this book is an essential addition to every ringer’s kit as well as being a fascinating guide for birdwatchers.

Moult in Birds cover
H. B Ginn, DS Melville
British Trust for Ornithology, 1983
ISBN: 978-0903793025
RRP: £7.50

Related content