, Volume 157, Issue 2, pp 231–238 | Cite as

The effects of sex, age and breeding success on breeding dispersal of pied flycatchers along a pollution gradient

  • Tapio Eeva
  • Markus Ahola
  • Toni Laaksonen
  • Esa Lehikoinen
Population Ecology - Original Paper


We modelled breeding dispersal of an insectivorous bird, the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) around a point source of heavy metals (a copper smelter). We tested for the effects of sex, age, breeding success and environmental pollution on breeding dispersal distances of F. hypoleuca females and males. Unlike many earlier studies on breeding dispersal, we took into account distance-dependent sampling bias by including in our model the recapture probabilities at different distances from the site of origin. Our results show that F. hypoleuca females disperse much farther (on average 7.9 km) from their breeding sites than what was previously thought. In contrast, males only disperse short distances (on average 190 m). Breeding success affected female breeding dispersal distances depending on female age: young females moved on average 8 km from their previous breeding place irrespective of their breeding success, while old females only seemed to move this far when their fledgling production was good. Females successful in their breeding dispersed as far as less successful females, or, among old birds, even farther. Females which dispersed long distances produced more fledglings after the movement than those staying near their previous breeding site. Degree of environmental pollution had no effect on female or male breeding dispersal distances. A polluted and unproductive environment does not seem to stimulate F. hypoleuca parents to move to more profitable territories.


Dispersal distance Ficedula hypoleuca Heavy metal pollution Reproductive success Site fidelity 



We thank Jorma Nurmi and many other people involved in field work over years. Arie van Noordwijk and two anonymous referees gave valuable comments on the manuscript. Our study was financed by the Turku University Foundation and the Academy of Finland (project 8119367). The collection of data was performed with permission from the Finnish Ringing Centre.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tapio Eeva
    • 1
  • Markus Ahola
    • 1
  • Toni Laaksonen
    • 1
  • Esa Lehikoinen
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of EcologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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