Birds of a feather winter together: migratory connectivity in the Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
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To investigate migratory connectivity in the Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus, we analysed (1) all available sub-Saharan ringing recoveries and (2) stable isotopes in feathers grown in Africa sampled at 17 European breeding sites across a migratory divide. A cluster analysis of ringing recoveries showed remarkable connectivity between breeding and non-breeding grounds. Two main clusters represented populations taking the two main migratory routes [southwesterly (SW) and southeasterly (SE)]. Stable isotope analysis confirmed the separation of wintering areas of SW- and SE-migrating populations. Higher δ15N values in feathers of SE-migrating birds indicated that they occupied more xeric biome types. Values of δ13C that did not differ significantly among populations were higher than those from feathers of known European origin and indicated a C4 biome. Three populations with an unknown migratory direction were assigned to the SE-migrating populations on the basis of δ15N values.