Geographical variation in the timing of breeding and moult in dunlin Calidris alpina on the Palearctic tundra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Studies of how organisms are adapted to regional climatic conditions are valuable when predicting the effects of global climatic changes on biota. Here we report on the geographical variation in timing of breeding and moult of an Arctic breeding wader, the dunlin (Calidris alpina). The Palearctic study sites range latitudinally between 68 and 76 degreesN and longitudinally between 46 and 179 degreesE, and encompass a variety of local climates. The sites were visited in sequence from west to east within 1 year, and therefore the data are not affected by confounding interannual variations. The estimated breeding start ranged from 5 to 25 June across populations. Birds at more southern sites were found to breed earlier than those at more northern breeding sites. Within populations, the breeding start for first clutches spanned a period of 8 days and, when including replacement clutches, 3-4 weeks. No dunlin west of the Taimyr Peninsula were found moulting while incubating at the nest, whereas all dunlin on Taimyr Peninsula and eastwards were in active wing moult while incubating or rearing chicks. The onset of moult in these populations ranged from 23 to 27 June. The consequences of geographical variation of breeding conditions for variation in the annual cycle of this species are discussed.


  • NMA Holmgren
  • Paul Jönsson
  • Liv Wennerberg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-377
JournalPolar Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Animal Ecology (Closed 2011) (011012001)

Related research output

Liv Wennerberg, 2001, Ecology Building, 223 62 Lund, Sweden. 134 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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