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Canary Island Blue Tits and English Coal Tits: Convergent Evolution?

Linda Partridge and Francis Pring-Mill
Evolution
Vol. 31, No. 3 (Sep., 1977), pp. 657-665
DOI: 10.2307/2407531
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2407531
Page Count: 9
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Canary Island Blue Tits and English Coal Tits: Convergent Evolution?
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Abstract

English blue tits have short bills and in general live in broad-leaved trees, while English coal tits have long bills and live mainly in conifers. Canary Island blue tits have long bills and have been suggested to be convergent in bill shape with English coal tits (P. ater) as a result of feeding in conifer habitats. Field observations of the feeding behavior of wild blue and coal tits in England and blue tits on the Canary Islands together with laboratory observations on the feeding skills of captive birds did not show convergence in feeding behavior. It seems likely that the long bills of Canary Island blue tits may be the result of the higher temperature of the Islands as compared with Britain.

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