Background: The spatiotemporal organization of migratory routes of long-distance migrants results from trade-offs between minimizing the journey length and en route risk of migration-related mortality, which may be reduced by avoiding crossing inhospitable ecological barriers. Despite flourishing avian migration research in recent decades, little is still known about inter-individual variability in migratory routes, as well as the carry-over effects of spatial and temporal features of migration on subsequent migration stages. Methods: We reconstructed post- and pre-breeding migration routes, barrier crossing behaviour and non-breeding movements of the largest sample (N = 85) analysed to date of individual barn swallows breeding in south-central Europe, which were tracked using light-level geolocators. Results: Most birds spent their non-breeding period in the Congo basin in a single stationary area, but a small fraction of itinerant individuals reaching South Africa was also observed. Birds generally followed a ‘clockwise loop migration pattern’, moving through the central Mediterranean and the Sahara Desert during post-breeding (north to south) migration yet switching to a more western route, along the Atlantic coast of Africa, Iberia and western Mediterranean during the pre-breeding (south to north) migration. Southward migration was straighter and less variable, while northward migration was significantly faster despite the broader detour along the Atlantic coast and Iberia. These patterns showed limited sex-related variability. The timing of different circannual events was tightly linked with previous migration stages, considerably affecting migration route and speed of subsequent movements. Indeed, individuals departing late from Africa performed straighter and faster pre-breeding migrations, partly compensating for the initial departure delays, but likely at the cost of performing riskier movements across ecological barriers. Conclusions: Different spatiotemporal migration strategies during post- and pre-breeding migration suggest that conditions en route may differ seasonally and allow for more efficient travelling along different migration corridors in either season. While highlighting patterns of inter-individual variability, our results support increasing evidence for widespread loop migration patterns among Afro-Palearctic avian migrants. Also, they suggest that carry-over effects acting across different phases of the annual cycle of migratory species can have major impacts on evolutionary processes.

Across the deserts and sea: inter-individual variation in migration routes of south-central European barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) / M. Pancerasa, R. Ambrosini, A. Romano, D. Rubolini, D.W. Winkler, R. Casagrandi. - In: MOVEMENT ECOLOGY. - ISSN 2051-3933. - 10:1(2022 Nov 22), pp. 51.1-51.18. [10.1186/s40462-022-00352-3]

Across the deserts and sea: inter-individual variation in migration routes of south-central European barn swallows (Hirundo rustica)

R. Ambrosini
Secondo
;
A. Romano;D. Rubolini;
2022

Abstract

Background: The spatiotemporal organization of migratory routes of long-distance migrants results from trade-offs between minimizing the journey length and en route risk of migration-related mortality, which may be reduced by avoiding crossing inhospitable ecological barriers. Despite flourishing avian migration research in recent decades, little is still known about inter-individual variability in migratory routes, as well as the carry-over effects of spatial and temporal features of migration on subsequent migration stages. Methods: We reconstructed post- and pre-breeding migration routes, barrier crossing behaviour and non-breeding movements of the largest sample (N = 85) analysed to date of individual barn swallows breeding in south-central Europe, which were tracked using light-level geolocators. Results: Most birds spent their non-breeding period in the Congo basin in a single stationary area, but a small fraction of itinerant individuals reaching South Africa was also observed. Birds generally followed a ‘clockwise loop migration pattern’, moving through the central Mediterranean and the Sahara Desert during post-breeding (north to south) migration yet switching to a more western route, along the Atlantic coast of Africa, Iberia and western Mediterranean during the pre-breeding (south to north) migration. Southward migration was straighter and less variable, while northward migration was significantly faster despite the broader detour along the Atlantic coast and Iberia. These patterns showed limited sex-related variability. The timing of different circannual events was tightly linked with previous migration stages, considerably affecting migration route and speed of subsequent movements. Indeed, individuals departing late from Africa performed straighter and faster pre-breeding migrations, partly compensating for the initial departure delays, but likely at the cost of performing riskier movements across ecological barriers. Conclusions: Different spatiotemporal migration strategies during post- and pre-breeding migration suggest that conditions en route may differ seasonally and allow for more efficient travelling along different migration corridors in either season. While highlighting patterns of inter-individual variability, our results support increasing evidence for widespread loop migration patterns among Afro-Palearctic avian migrants. Also, they suggest that carry-over effects acting across different phases of the annual cycle of migratory species can have major impacts on evolutionary processes.
Carry-over effects; Ecological barriers crossing; Light-level geolocators; Long-distance movement; Loop migration;
Settore BIO/07 - Ecologia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/945453
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