Pattern of non-breeding movements by Stone-curlews Burhinus oedicnemus breeding in Northern Italy

The identification of year-round geographical ranges and the quantification of the degree of migratory connectivity are fundamental to the successful conservation of migratory bird populations. The Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus is a species of conservation concern in Europe, but its ecology and behaviour are relatively poorly investigated. In particular, its migratory behaviour and the locations of the wintering ranges of most European populations are not known in detail because of a lack of specific studies and the scarcity of ringing recoveries. This study aimed to identify the wintering areas of a Stone-curlew population breeding in the Taro River Regional Park (Parma, northern Italy) by integrating the information obtained from ringing recoveries (n = 2), geolocators (n = 7), and GPS data loggers (n = 2). Furthermore, we compared two approaches to inferring the location of an assumed stationary bird using geolocator data. The different sources were quite coherent, indicating that tagged Stone-curlews did not leave the Mediterranean basin throughout the year and passed the winter in Sardinia or in Tunisia. The recorded wintering sites coincided with areas where breeding (and possibly resident) populations are reported, further emphasising the importance of these areas for the conservation of the species throughout the annual cycle. To our knowledge, our study represents the first thorough analysis performed to uncover the movements of a Mediterranean population of Stone-curlews. Furthermore, it proves the great potential of the tracking devices used in this work to provide information on the migration and non-breeding sites of elusive species, for which the application of mark–recapture/re-sighting techniques is hindered by profound limitations.


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Authors: Giunchi, Dimitri, Caccamo, Chiara, Mori, Alessia, Fox, James W., Rodríguez-Godoy, Felipe, Baldaccini, N. Emilio, Pollonara, Enrica

1 October, 2015
Journal of Ornithology / 156
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