acta ethologica

, 12:87 | Cite as

Age-related migration patterns in Larus fuscus spp.

  • Paulo A. M. Marques
  • Ana M. Costa
  • Peter Rock
  • Paulo E. Jorge
Original Paper

Abstract

Migration is a critical period in a bird’s life that can affect the fitness of individuals. Intra-population migratory patterns and the way different sex and/or age classes within a population differ in timing and/or distance of migration are not completely understood. The present study aims to observe inter- and intra-population migratory patterns in the western population of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus fuscus spp.), shedding light on age-related differences of temporal patterns of occurrence in the Portuguese coastal areas during migration and winter. One thousand seven hundred and fifty-four colour ring records were analysed matching a 30-year period of observations on the Portuguese coast between 1975 and 2005. During migration, the graellsii population represents 90% of the migratory flow of L. fuscus through Portugal with the intermedius accounting for 9% and the fuscus population, being vestigial in this period, accounting for 1%. Nevertheless, interesting significant differences were observed between the age classes of the three populations during this period, the graellsii population having a large number of first winters (40% of the migratory contingent of this population) followed by immatures and adults whilst in the intermedius and fuscus populations, the largest age class is the adults. During winter, no inter-population differences were found. When comparing migration and winter periods, intra-population differences were found in the graellsii and fuscus populations regarding distribution and age classes. These results indicate different migratory routes amongst different populations suggesting a leapfrog migration in L. fuscus and also a differential age-related migration pattern that might result from first winters migrating further south in search of a wintering place since adults heavily occupy the closest wintering quarters in their attempt to arrive earlier at their breeding ground.

Keywords

Migration Wintering quarters Breeding areas Migratory patterns Western Lesser Black-backed Gulls 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag and ISPA 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paulo A. M. Marques
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ana M. Costa
    • 3
  • Peter Rock
    • 4
  • Paulo E. Jorge
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Biologia Ambiental, Museu Nacional de História NaturalUniversidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Departamento de Biodiversidad y Biología EvolutivaMuseo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC)MadridSpain
  3. 3.Faculdade de CiênciasUniversidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  4. 4.BristolUK

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