Extensive fuelling in great reed warblers following the trans-Sahara crossing in spring
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Migratory birds wintering in Africa face the challenge of passing the Sahara desert with little opportunities to forage. During spring migration birds thus arrive in the Mediterranean area after crossing the desert with very low energy reserves. Since early arrival to the breeding grounds often is of importance to maximize reproductive success, finding stopover sites with good refuelling possibilities after the Saharan passage is of utmost importance. Here we report on extensive fuelling in the great reed warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, on the south coast of Crete in spring, the first land that they encounter after crossing the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea in this area. Birds were trapped with mist nets at a river mouth, individually ringed and information about body mass, wing length, muscle score and fat score were recorded. Due to an exceptional high recapture rate at the trapping site (45%), we were able to calculate minimum stopover time and fuel deposition rates in 25 individual great reed warblers during one spring season. The large proportion of trapped great reed warbler compared to other species and the large number of recaptures suggests that great reed warbler actively choose this area for stopover. The relatively long stopover period at the site, the high fuel deposition rate (1 g day-1) and the large body mass increase show that great reed warblers at this site regularly deposit a much larger fuel load than needed for one continued flight stage to the north. It was also shown that birds with lower body mass at first capture had a higher fuel deposition rate than birds with higher body mass. This indicates that individuals are able to adjust their food intake in relation to energy reserves.
Behavioral Sciences Biology
Research subject Ethology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-126970OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-126970DiVA: diva2:904548