Migration distance affects stopover use but not travel speed: Contrasting patterns between long- and short-distance migrating ospreys

Flavio Monti*, David Gremillet, Andrea Sforzi, Jean Marie Dominici, Rafel Triay Bagur, Antoni Munoz Navarro, Leonida Fusani, Raymond H. G. Klaassen, Thomas Alerstam, Olivier Duriez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The development of migratory behaviour is a continuous process which is not only determined by genes, but also moulded by individual differences based on life-history variations occurring at each ontogenetic stage. Assessing consistency and plasticity in migratory traits between long distance (LDM) and short distance migratory (SDM) populations within the same species that may express dissimilarities in the leeway of annual schedules is essential to understand the evolution and ontogeny of migratory strategies. We studied the migration strategies in autumn regarding flight speed and the use of stopovers (number and duration of stop-overs across the whole journey) at the intra-specific level, by tracking with GPS loggers the intercontinental migration of 43 adult and juvenile ospreys Pandion haliaetus from both LDM and SDM populations. LDM ospreys travelled distances five times larger than SDM ospreys, but their total migration speed was 2.4 times slower. While daily distance travelled did not differ between populations, the reduced total migration speed by LDMs was due to higher stopover use compared to SDM birds. SDM birds used more direct routes, crossing open sea at higher flight speeds, even though both populations largely benefitted from wind assistance across their journey. Across populations, adult birds travelled longer distances per day and displayed less sinuous migratory paths than juveniles, suggesting that migratory capabilities improve with age and experience of the bird. Overall, the time constraint related to total migration distance was not the main driver of the total migration speed, and other factors such as physiological needs to rest and refuel at stopover sites may play an important role. Our study underlines the importance of investigating variability in migration strategies in partially migratory species, for a better understanding of avian migratory ecology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01839
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Avian Biology
Volume49
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2018

Keywords

  • migratory strategy
  • raptor
  • GPS tracking
  • HARRIER CIRCUS-AERUGINOSUS
  • PANDION-HALIAETUS
  • SPRING MIGRATION
  • DETOURED MIGRATION
  • WEATHER CONDITIONS
  • BIRD MIGRATION
  • FLIGHT
  • ORIENTATION
  • STRATEGY
  • MIGRANTS

Cite this