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The use of feather abrasion in moult studies.


Four stages of feather abrasion have been defined for fully grown feathers; they can be recognized in the remiges, rectrices, and primary and secondary coverts of most birds. A code is given for each abrasion stage, allowing abrasion to be recorded in conventional moult formulae. Systematic recording of abrasion condition may help establish when moult occurs in species for which few other data are available. Partial and arrested primary moults, staffelmausers and slow continuous primary moults all produce distinctive patterns of abrasion; all these types of moult need more study. Feather abrasion can be an indispensable ageing guide in birds in which we have some knowledge of the moult history.

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