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Annual cycle and migration strategies of a trans-saharan migratory songbird: a geolocator study in the great reed warbler.

Lemke, Hilger; Tarka, Maja LU ; Klaassen, Raymond LU ; Åkesson, Mikael LU ; Bensch, Staffan LU ; Hasselquist, Dennis LU and Hansson, Bengt LU (2013) In PLoS ONE 8(10).
Abstract
Recent technological advancements now allow us to obtain geographical position data for a wide range of animal movements. Here we used light-level geolocators to study the annual migration cycle in great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus), a passerine bird breeding in Eurasia and wintering in sub-Saharan Africa. We were specifically interested in seasonal strategies in routes and schedules of migration. We found that the great reed warblers (all males, no females were included) migrated from the Swedish breeding site in early August. After spending up to three weeks at scattered stopover sites in central to south-eastern Europe, they resumed migration and crossed the Mediterranean Sea and Sahara Desert without lengthy stopovers.... (More)
Recent technological advancements now allow us to obtain geographical position data for a wide range of animal movements. Here we used light-level geolocators to study the annual migration cycle in great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus), a passerine bird breeding in Eurasia and wintering in sub-Saharan Africa. We were specifically interested in seasonal strategies in routes and schedules of migration. We found that the great reed warblers (all males, no females were included) migrated from the Swedish breeding site in early August. After spending up to three weeks at scattered stopover sites in central to south-eastern Europe, they resumed migration and crossed the Mediterranean Sea and Sahara Desert without lengthy stopovers. They then spread out over a large overwintering area and each bird utilised two (or even three) main wintering sites that were spatially separated by a distinct mid-winter movement. Spring migration initiation date differed widely between individuals (1-27 April). Several males took a more westerly route over the Sahara in spring than in autumn, and in general there were fewer long-distance travels and more frequent shorter stopovers, including one in northern Africa, in spring. The shorter stopovers made spring migration on average faster than autumn migration. There was a strong correlation between the spring departure dates from wintering sites and the arrival dates at the breeding ground. All males had a high migration speed in spring despite large variation in departure dates, indicating a time-minimization strategy to achieve an early arrival at the breeding site; the latter being decisive for high reproductive success in great reed warblers. Our results have important implications for the understanding of long-distance migrants' ability to predict conditions at distant breeding sites and adapt to rapid environmental change. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
PLoS ONE
volume
8
issue
10
publisher
Public Library of Science
external identifiers
  • wos:000326029300171
  • pmid:24205374
  • scopus:84885718442
ISSN
1932-6203
DOI
10.1371/journal.pone.0079209
project
BECC
Tracking individual migrants
Wild great reed warblers
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
edc82d75-1f79-4222-a6ea-8ab5905897f9 (old id 4179655)
date added to LUP
2013-12-18 11:44:17
date last changed
2019-04-23 02:34:23
@article{edc82d75-1f79-4222-a6ea-8ab5905897f9,
  abstract     = {Recent technological advancements now allow us to obtain geographical position data for a wide range of animal movements. Here we used light-level geolocators to study the annual migration cycle in great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus), a passerine bird breeding in Eurasia and wintering in sub-Saharan Africa. We were specifically interested in seasonal strategies in routes and schedules of migration. We found that the great reed warblers (all males, no females were included) migrated from the Swedish breeding site in early August. After spending up to three weeks at scattered stopover sites in central to south-eastern Europe, they resumed migration and crossed the Mediterranean Sea and Sahara Desert without lengthy stopovers. They then spread out over a large overwintering area and each bird utilised two (or even three) main wintering sites that were spatially separated by a distinct mid-winter movement. Spring migration initiation date differed widely between individuals (1-27 April). Several males took a more westerly route over the Sahara in spring than in autumn, and in general there were fewer long-distance travels and more frequent shorter stopovers, including one in northern Africa, in spring. The shorter stopovers made spring migration on average faster than autumn migration. There was a strong correlation between the spring departure dates from wintering sites and the arrival dates at the breeding ground. All males had a high migration speed in spring despite large variation in departure dates, indicating a time-minimization strategy to achieve an early arrival at the breeding site; the latter being decisive for high reproductive success in great reed warblers. Our results have important implications for the understanding of long-distance migrants' ability to predict conditions at distant breeding sites and adapt to rapid environmental change.},
  articleno    = {e79209},
  author       = {Lemke, Hilger and Tarka, Maja and Klaassen, Raymond and Åkesson, Mikael and Bensch, Staffan and Hasselquist, Dennis and Hansson, Bengt},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {10},
  publisher    = {Public Library of Science},
  series       = {PLoS ONE},
  title        = {Annual cycle and migration strategies of a trans-saharan migratory songbird: a geolocator study in the great reed warbler.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0079209},
  volume       = {8},
  year         = {2013},
}