Movements of European stonechats Saxicola torquata according to ringing recoveries

Helm, B., Fiedler, W. and Callion, J. (2006) Movements of European stonechats Saxicola torquata according to ringing recoveries. Ardea, 94(1), pp. 33-44.

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Abstract

Ringing recoveries of European Stonechats Saxicola torquata increased more than tenfold to 1162 since the last in-depth analysis in 1965. This paper presents a new overview over all recoveries and detailed analyses of Stonechats ringed during the breeding season in Britain, Benelux countries, and Germany. Stonechats showed stronger migratory tendencies than previously thought. Birds of known origin from all parts of Europe were recorded in north African winter quarters. Local overwintering was only observed in Britain, France, Spain, and Italy. Benelux Stonechats were fully migratory, just as their German conspecifics. British Stonechats were partially migrant; according to conservative estimates almost half (42.1%) of the British Stonechats migrated. Instead of segregating into residents and migrants they travelled over a continuous range of distances. Some reached north African winter ranges but median routes were shorter than those of Benelux and German Stonechats. Surprisingly, natal dispersal and post-fledging movements were longer in British partial migrants than in continental obligate migrants. These movements tended to be biased in migration directions. Sexes and age classes showed identical migratory behaviour, an unusual observation among individually migrating birds. Furthermore, migration of Stonechats did not change consistently over the last decades, counter to predictions. In conclusion, European Stonechats are predominantly migratory but partial migration and summer movements seem to be surprisingly plastic.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Helm, Dr Barbara
Authors: Helm, B., Fiedler, W., and Callion, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Ardea
ISSN:0373-2266

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