Establishing body-size indicators in a study of female spruce grouse Dendragapus canadensis

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Seven measurements were taken from 72 adult and yearling spruce grouse Dendragapus canadensis hens collected over a I0-year period from north-eastern Ontario, Canada. A principal components analysis (PCA) indicated keel ridge length, keel total length, and femur length, these being the most representative measurements of general body size. Skeletal mass, caecal length,
wing length, and foot length had lower character loadings on the first principal component axis (PCl), suggesting they are unreliable measurements of body size. Measurements taken from bones (i.e. keel, femur) were more representative of general body size than external morphometric measurements ( e g wing and foot length) which ornithologists traditionally use to estimate body size. Pre-laying adults were the smallest individuals and pre-laying yearlings the largest in the population studied. A discriminant functions analysis (DFA) of the seven measurements, with separated body mass as an eighth variable, demonstrated distinct separation between pre-laying and post-laying groups of birds on the basis of separated body mass. Keel ridge length was further implicated as an effective variable in the discrimination of birds from different laying groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Zoology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1996


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