Stopover departure decisions in autumn are not associated with constitutive immune function in Northern Wheatears Oenanthe oenanthe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Stopover periods in between migratory flights determine the speed of migration and as such may affect birds’ fitness. The decision to leave a stopover site is affected by, for example, energy stores and weather conditions. We investigated whether immunological state influences autumn stopover departure decisions in Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), a nocturnal long-distance migrant. We measured three parameters of constitutive immune function: microbial killing capacity, haptoglobin, and total immunoglobulins. None of them explained variation in departure probability, minimum stopover duration, or departure time within the night. Thus, we did not find an effect of the birds’ immunological state on stopover departure decisions.


External organisations
  • Heligoland Bird Observatory
  • Bangor University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology


  • Departure cues, Fitness, Immunity, Migration, Stopover, Telemetry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-817
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Ornithology
Issue number3
Early online date2019 Apr 13
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch