Migration routes and non-breeding areas of Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) from the Azores

We describe the migration routes and non-breeding areas of Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) from the Azores Archipelago, based on ringing (banding) recoveries and tracking of three birds using geolocators. Over 20 years, there have been 55 transatlantic recoveries of Common Terns from the Azores population: six from Argentina and 49 from Brazil. The three tracked birds migrated south in different months (August, September, November), but the northern migration was more synchronous, with all leaving in April. The birds were tracked to three areas of the South American coast: the male spent November–April on the northern Brazilian coast (13°N–2°S), whereas the two females first spent some time off central-eastern Brazil (4–16°S; one for 1 week, the other for 3 months) and then moved south to the coast of south-eastern Brazil, Uruguay and northern Argentina (24–39°S). Although caution is needed given the small sample size and errors associated with geolocation, the three tracked terns potentially travelled a total of ~23 200 km to and returning from their non-breeding areas, representing an average movement of ~500 km day–1. With the exception of Belém, in northern Brazil, and Lagoa do Peixe, in southern Brazil, the coastal areas used by the tracked birds were also those with concentrations of ringing recoveries, confirming their importance as non-breeding areas for birds from the Azores.


Publication status:
Authors: Neves, Veronica C., Nava, Cristina P., Cormons, Matt, Bremer, Esteban, Castresana, Gabriel, Lima, Pedro, Junior, Severino M. Azevedo, Phillips, Richard A., Magalhaes, Maria C., Santos, Ricardo S.

On this site: Richard Phillips
2 March, 2015
Emu / 115
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