Abstract

It is a long-standing view that the main mechanism maintaining narrow migratory divides in passerines is the selection against intermediate and suboptimal migratory direction, but empirical proof of this is still lacking. We present novel results from a willow warbler migratory divide in central Sweden from where birds take the typical SW and SE as well as intermediate routes to winter quarters in Africa. We hypothesized that individuals that take the intermediate route are forced to migrate in daytime more often when crossing wide ecological barriers than birds that follow the typical western or eastern flyways. Analyses of geolocator tracks of willow warblers breeding across the entire Sweden, including the migratory divide, provided no support for our hypothesis. Instead, birds that migrated along the western flyway were the most likely to undertake full day flights. The probability of migrating for a full day when crossing major barriers declined linearly from west to east. We speculate that this difference is possibly caused by more challenging conditions in the western part of the Sahara Desert, such as the lack of suitable day-time roost sites. However, it may equally likely be that willow warblers benefit from migrating in daytime if favorable tailwinds offer assistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number58
JournalMovement Ecology
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Ecology

Free keywords

  • Barrier crossing
  • Geolocation
  • Migration
  • Passerine
  • Phylloscopus trochilus
  • Plasticity

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