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Great flights by great snipes: long and fast non-stop migration over benign habitats.

Klaassen, Raymond LU ; Alerstam, Thomas LU ; Carlsson, Peter; Fox, James W and Lindström, Åke LU (2011) In Biology Letters 7. p.833-835
Abstract
Migratory land birds perform extreme endurance flights when crossing ecological barriers, such as deserts, oceans and ice-caps. When travelling over benign areas, birds are expected to migrate by shorter flight steps, since carrying the heavy fuel loads needed for long non-stop flights comes at considerable cost. Here, we show that great snipes Gallinago media made long and fast non-stop flights (4300-6800 km in 48-96 h), not only over deserts and seas but also over wide areas of suitable habitats, which represents a previously unknown migration strategy among land birds. Furthermore, the great snipes achieved very high ground speeds (15-27 m s(-1)), which was not an effect of strong tailwind support, and we know of no other animal that... (More)
Migratory land birds perform extreme endurance flights when crossing ecological barriers, such as deserts, oceans and ice-caps. When travelling over benign areas, birds are expected to migrate by shorter flight steps, since carrying the heavy fuel loads needed for long non-stop flights comes at considerable cost. Here, we show that great snipes Gallinago media made long and fast non-stop flights (4300-6800 km in 48-96 h), not only over deserts and seas but also over wide areas of suitable habitats, which represents a previously unknown migration strategy among land birds. Furthermore, the great snipes achieved very high ground speeds (15-27 m s(-1)), which was not an effect of strong tailwind support, and we know of no other animal that travels this rapidly over such a long distance. Our results demonstrate that some migratory birds are prepared to accept extreme costs of strenuous exercise and large fuel loads, even when stopover sites are available along the route and there is little tailwind assistance. A strategy of storing a lot of energy before departure, even if migration is over benign habitats, may be advantageous owing to differential conditions of fuel deposition, predation or infection risk along the migration route. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
wind assistance, stopover ecology, geolocators, avian migration, endurance exercise
in
Biology Letters
volume
7
pages
833 - 835
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • wos:000296890900010
  • pmid:21613283
  • scopus:82455205845
ISSN
1744-9561
DOI
10.1098/rsbl.2011.0343
project
CAnMove
BECC
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
7cfdc52f-2f83-4dc9-b836-3476cf48ed07 (old id 1972170)
date added to LUP
2011-08-17 11:01:47
date last changed
2017-11-05 03:09:09
@article{7cfdc52f-2f83-4dc9-b836-3476cf48ed07,
  abstract     = {Migratory land birds perform extreme endurance flights when crossing ecological barriers, such as deserts, oceans and ice-caps. When travelling over benign areas, birds are expected to migrate by shorter flight steps, since carrying the heavy fuel loads needed for long non-stop flights comes at considerable cost. Here, we show that great snipes Gallinago media made long and fast non-stop flights (4300-6800 km in 48-96 h), not only over deserts and seas but also over wide areas of suitable habitats, which represents a previously unknown migration strategy among land birds. Furthermore, the great snipes achieved very high ground speeds (15-27 m s(-1)), which was not an effect of strong tailwind support, and we know of no other animal that travels this rapidly over such a long distance. Our results demonstrate that some migratory birds are prepared to accept extreme costs of strenuous exercise and large fuel loads, even when stopover sites are available along the route and there is little tailwind assistance. A strategy of storing a lot of energy before departure, even if migration is over benign habitats, may be advantageous owing to differential conditions of fuel deposition, predation or infection risk along the migration route.},
  author       = {Klaassen, Raymond and Alerstam, Thomas and Carlsson, Peter and Fox, James W and Lindström, Åke},
  issn         = {1744-9561},
  keyword      = {wind assistance,stopover ecology,geolocators,avian migration,endurance exercise},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {833--835},
  publisher    = {Royal Society},
  series       = {Biology Letters},
  title        = {Great flights by great snipes: long and fast non-stop migration over benign habitats.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2011.0343},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2011},
}