Carryover effects of long-distance avian migration are weaker than effects of breeding environment in a partially migratory bird

Author(s): Buchan, C., Gilroy, J.J., Catry, I., Bustamante, J., Marca, A.D., Atkinson, P.W., González, J.M. & Franco, A.M.A.

Published: January 2021   Pages: 10pp

Journal: Scientific Reports Volume: 11

Article No.: 935

Digital Identifier No. (DOI): 10.1038/s41598-020-80341-x

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Migration may expose individuals to a wide range of increasing anthropogenic threats. In addition to direct mortality effects, this exposure may influence post-migratory reproductive fitness. Partial migration—where a population comprises migrants and residents—represents a powerful opportunity to explore carryover effects of migration. Studies of partial migration in birds typically examine short-distance systems; here we studied an unusual system where residents breed in mixed colonies alongside long-distance trans-Saharan migrants (Lesser Kestrels (Falco naumanni) in Spain). Combining geolocator data, stable isotope analysis and resighting data, we examined the effects of this stark difference in migratory strategy on body condition, breeding phenology and breeding success. We monitored four colonies in two regions of southern Spain for five consecutive years (2014–2018), yielding 1962 captures, determining migratory strategy for 141 adult bird-years. Despite a 3000-km difference in distance travelled, we find no effect of strategy on breeding parameters. We find weak evidence for a short-term negative carryover effect of migration on body condition, but this was only apparent in the breeding region with lower primary productivity. Our results indicate that carryover effects of even highly divergent migratory strategies may be minimal relative to effects of conditions
experienced on breeding grounds.
Staff Author(s)

    Phil Atkinson

    Head of the Framing Futures team, and Principal Ecologist

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