, Volume 152, Issue 1, pp 83-92
Date: 08 Jul 2010

Movement patterns of Bar-headed Geese Anser indicus during breeding and post-breeding periods at Qinghai Lake, China

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Abstract

The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 outbreak at Qinghai Lake, China, in 2005 caused the death of over 6,000 migratory birds, half of which were Bar-headed Geese Anser indicus. Understanding the movements of this species may inform monitoring of outbreak risks for HPAI viruses; thus, we investigated the movement patterns of 29 Bar-headed Geese at Qinghai Lake, China during 2007 and 2008 by using high resolution GPS satellite telemetry. We described the movements and distribution of marked Bar-headed Geese during the pre-nesting, nesting, and moulting periods. Of 21 Bar-headed Geese with complete transmission records, 3 moved to other areas during the nesting period: 2 to Jianghe wetland (50 km northwest of Qinghai Lake) and 1 to Cuolongka Lake (220 km northwest of Qinghai Lake) during the nesting period. We identified nesting attempts of 7 of the marked geese at Qinghai Lake. Four completed successful nesting attempts according to our rules of judgment for the breeding status, and 2 geese lost broods soon after hatching (hereafter referred to as unsuccessful breeders). Of 18 geese present at Qinghai Lake during the nesting period, 9 (6 non-breeders, 2 successful breeders and 1 unsuccessful breeder) remained at Qinghai Lake during the moulting period; and 9 (5 non-breeders, 4 unsuccessful breeders) left Qinghai Lake for moulting. Kuhai Lake, Donggeicuona Lake, Alake Lake, Zhaling-Eling Lake area and Huangheyuan wetland area were used as moulting sites. Geese that moulted at Qinghai Lake, Cuolongka Lake, Kuhai Lake, Donggeicuona Lake and Alake Lake also moved to Zhaling-Eling Lake area or Huangheyuan wetland area and stayed there for several days prior to autumn migration. Mean home range and core area estimates did not differ significantly by sex, year and between breeders and non-breeders.

Communicated by F. Bairlein.
P. Cui, Y. Hou, M. Tang contributed equally to this paper.