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The migratory habits and migration schedules of waders can be better understood by analysing their measurements. This technical reference examines the morphometrical variation in 15 species. Therefore, we need a clear characterization of breeding populations and the proper statistical tools. In this book the morphometrical variation of the following species was studied with multivariate statistics: Ringed Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Red Knot, Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Redshank and Ruddy Turnstone. The taxonomy of most species was revised. The Black-tailed Godwit was split into two species. The same was done with the Whimbrel. Four new subspecies were described in, respectively, the Grey Plover (Wrangel Island), the Purple Sandpiper (Hudson Bay) and the Bar-tailed Godwit (Taymyr, Anadyr).
The characteristics of the various subspecies and/or populations were quantified. Outside the breeding areas these characteristics can be helpful in producing estimates of the population composition of migrating and wintering populations throughout the world. Individuals can be predicted to resemble any of the quantified breeding populations by using POSCON analysis. These statistics can be helpful when studying the migration habits of waders anywhere in the world. POSCON predictions can also be useful on the breeding grounds, when one wants to know a bird's sex. This book has a worldwide coverage of nearly all breeding populations and tries to fill the gap between descriptive and predictive statistics.
It is of interest for all those people handling waders, whether in the museum or in the field when trapping. It is also interesting for taxonomical researchers and workers dealing with breeding studies. People studying other species than waders can also use this book, since they can construct their own databases and produce their own predictions with the POSCON programs enclosed on disk.