Female northern flickers, a woodpecker species who breeds during summer all across Canada, spends its winter farther north on average than males, according to a new study. Sex differences in migration distances are well known, but this is the first time researchers observed female birds that travel less distance than males.
The authors believe this discrepancy is caused by the amount of parental care each bird provides. Northern flicker males invest more in parental care than females in this species, so they travel farther south in order to make sure they spend their winter in a warmer habitat with enough food.
Original research paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science on December 9, 2014.
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