CR 35:147-157 (2007)  -  DOI:

Climate changes and post-nuptial migration strategy by two reedbed passerines

Guillaume Péron1,2, Pierre-Yves Henry1,3, Pascal Provost4, Olivier Dehorter1, Romain Julliard1,*

1UMR 5173 MNHN-CNRS-UPMC, Centre de Recherche sur la Biologie des Populations d’Oiseaux, CP51, 55 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France
2UMR 5175, Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1919 route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
3UMR 7179 MNHN-CNRS, Département Ecologie et Gestion de la Biodiversité, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 1 avenue du Petit Château, 91800 Brunoy, France
4Maison de l’Estuaire, Observatoire Avifaune de la ZPS Estuaire et Marais de la Basse Seine, Réserve Naturelle Nationale de l’Estuaire de la Seine, 20 rue Jean Caurret, 76600 Le Havre, France
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Phenology of biological systems is the expression of selective pressures forcing organisms to match their energy requirements to seasonal variations in resource availability. For long-distance migrant organisms, migration strategy is shaped by the availability and quality of stopovers during a precise time period. Ongoing climate changes alter the usual spatial and temporal distribution of resources, and, as a result, migrant species return earlier to their breeding grounds. Less is known on the evolution and determinants of timing of departure to wintering grounds, i.e. post-breeding migration. We analysed timing of post-nuptial migration and stopover strategy with capture–mark–recapture (CMR) data in 2 reedbed insectivorous passerines: the sedge warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus, specialised on a thermo-dependant prey, and the generalist reed warbler A. scirpaceus. Spring temperatures increased through years (0.16 ± 0.047°C yr–1), and studied species migrated earlier in recent years (–0.73 ± 0.086 d yr–1). Autumnal migration phenology was negatively related to spring (March) temperature (–2.54 ± 0.19 d °C–1), whereas it was not related to autumnal temperatures. We suggest that this results from a major time shift (i.e. advance) in biomass production caused by global warming. Stopover duration (estimated by CMR analysis) was positively related to body mass gain, with a trend for a stronger effect in the specialised species. However, neither stopover duration nor body mass gain were related to spring temperature, suggesting that the advance in migration timing efficiently adapted bird phenology to temporal variations in resources.

KEY WORDS: Climate change · Stopover duration · Optimal migration · Acrocephalus scirpaceus · Acrocephalus schoenobaenus · Capture–Mark–Recapture

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Cite this article as: Péron G, Henry P, Provost P, Dehorter O, Julliard R (2007) Climate changes and post-nuptial migration strategy by two reedbed passerines. Clim Res 35:147-157.

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