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Interspecific Comparison of the Performance of Soaring Migrants in Relation to Morphology, Meteorological Conditions and Migration Strategies

Mellone, Ugo; Klaassen, Raymond LU ; Garcia-Ripolles, Clara; Liminana, Ruben; Lopez-Lopez, Pascual; Pavon, Diego; Strandberg, Roine LU ; Urios, Vicente; Vardakis, Michalis and Alerstam, Thomas LU (2012) In PLoS ONE 7(7).
Abstract
Background: Performance of migrating birds can be affected by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors like morphology, meteorological conditions and migration strategies. We compared travel speeds of four raptor species during their crossing of the Sahara desert. Focusing the analyses on this region allows us to compare different species under equivalent conditions in order to disentangle which factors affect migratory performance. Methodology/Principal Finding: We tracked raptors using GPS satellite transmitters from Sweden, Spain and Italy, and evaluated their migratory performance at both an hourly and a daily scale. Hourly data (flight speed and altitude for intervals of two hours) were analyzed in relation to time of day, species... (More)
Background: Performance of migrating birds can be affected by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors like morphology, meteorological conditions and migration strategies. We compared travel speeds of four raptor species during their crossing of the Sahara desert. Focusing the analyses on this region allows us to compare different species under equivalent conditions in order to disentangle which factors affect migratory performance. Methodology/Principal Finding: We tracked raptors using GPS satellite transmitters from Sweden, Spain and Italy, and evaluated their migratory performance at both an hourly and a daily scale. Hourly data (flight speed and altitude for intervals of two hours) were analyzed in relation to time of day, species and season, and daily data (distance between roosting sites) in relation to species, season, day length and tailwind support. Conclusions/Significance: Despite a clear variation in morphology, interspecific differences were generally very small, and did only arise in spring, with long-distance migrants (>5000 km: osprey and Western marsh-harrier) being faster than species that migrate shorter distances (Egyptian vulture and short-toed eagle). Our results suggest that the most important factor explaining hourly variation in flight speed is time of day, while at a daily scale, tailwind support is the most important factor explaining variation in daily distance, raising new questions about the consequences of possible future changes in worldwide wind patterns. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
PLoS ONE
volume
7
issue
7
publisher
Public Library of Science
external identifiers
  • wos:000305966500027
  • scopus:84863610040
ISSN
1932-6203
DOI
10.1371/journal.pone.0039833
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c7cb4739-a9a2-4afc-a271-ccb57e8318be (old id 3001394)
date added to LUP
2012-08-21 12:02:45
date last changed
2017-10-01 04:05:31
@article{c7cb4739-a9a2-4afc-a271-ccb57e8318be,
  abstract     = {Background: Performance of migrating birds can be affected by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors like morphology, meteorological conditions and migration strategies. We compared travel speeds of four raptor species during their crossing of the Sahara desert. Focusing the analyses on this region allows us to compare different species under equivalent conditions in order to disentangle which factors affect migratory performance. Methodology/Principal Finding: We tracked raptors using GPS satellite transmitters from Sweden, Spain and Italy, and evaluated their migratory performance at both an hourly and a daily scale. Hourly data (flight speed and altitude for intervals of two hours) were analyzed in relation to time of day, species and season, and daily data (distance between roosting sites) in relation to species, season, day length and tailwind support. Conclusions/Significance: Despite a clear variation in morphology, interspecific differences were generally very small, and did only arise in spring, with long-distance migrants (>5000 km: osprey and Western marsh-harrier) being faster than species that migrate shorter distances (Egyptian vulture and short-toed eagle). Our results suggest that the most important factor explaining hourly variation in flight speed is time of day, while at a daily scale, tailwind support is the most important factor explaining variation in daily distance, raising new questions about the consequences of possible future changes in worldwide wind patterns.},
  author       = {Mellone, Ugo and Klaassen, Raymond and Garcia-Ripolles, Clara and Liminana, Ruben and Lopez-Lopez, Pascual and Pavon, Diego and Strandberg, Roine and Urios, Vicente and Vardakis, Michalis and Alerstam, Thomas},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {7},
  publisher    = {Public Library of Science},
  series       = {PLoS ONE},
  title        = {Interspecific Comparison of the Performance of Soaring Migrants in Relation to Morphology, Meteorological Conditions and Migration Strategies},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0039833},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2012},
}