Journal of Ornithology

, 150:393 | Cite as

Migration patterns of Hoopoe Upupa epops and Wryneck Jynx torquilla: an analysis of European ring recoveries

  • Thomas S. ReichlinEmail author
  • Michael Schaub
  • Myles H. M. Menz
  • Murielle Mermod
  • Patricia Portner
  • Raphaël Arlettaz
  • Lukas Jenni
Original Article


For many bird species, recovery of ringed individuals remains the best source of information about their migrations. In this study, we analyzed the recoveries of ringed European Hoopoe (Upupa epops) and the Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla) from 1914 to 2005 from all European ringing schemes. The aim was to define general migration directions and to make inferences about the winter quarters, knowing that hardly any recoveries are available from sub-Saharan Africa. For the autumn migration, there is evidence of a migratory divide for the Hoopoe in Central Europe, at approximately 10–12°E. Autumn migration directions of Wrynecks gradually change from SW to SE depending on the longitude (west to east) of the ringing place. In both species, only a few recoveries were available indicating spring migration directions, but they showed similar migration axes as for autumn migration, and hence no evidence for loop-migration. Due to a paucity of recoveries on the African continent, we can make only limited inferences about wintering grounds: extrapolating migration directions are only indicative of the longitude of the wintering area. The directions of autumn migration indicate a typical pattern observed in European long-distance migrants: west-European Hoopoes and Wrynecks are likely to winter in western Africa, while central- and east-European birds probably winter more in the east. Due to the migratory divide, for the Hoopoe, this phenomenon is more pronounced.


Connectivity Jynx torquilla Migration Ring recoveries Upupa epops 



We are indebted to the European Union for Bird Ringing (EURING), particularly Chris du Feu, EURING Data Bank Co-ordinator, and all European ringing schemes that provided the recovery data of Hoopoes and Wrynecks. We thank Wolfgang Fiedler (Vogelwarte Radolfzell, Germany) and Elisabeth Wiprächtiger (Swiss Ornithological Institute, Sempach) for providing additional data. We are grateful for the statistical and mathematical support provided by Fränzi Korner-Nievergelt and Fitsum Abadi Gebreselassie.


  1. Baillie SR (1995) Uses of ringing data for the conservation and management of bird populations: a ringing scheme perspective. J Appl Stat 22:967–987. doi: 10.1080/02664769524748 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baillie SR (2001) The contribution of ringing to the conservation and management of bird populations: a review. Ardea 89(Sp Iss):167–184Google Scholar
  3. Bairlein F (2001) Results of bird ringing in the study of migration routes. Ardea 89(Sp Iss):7–19Google Scholar
  4. Batschelet E (1981) Circular statistics in biology. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. Bibby CJ (2003) Conservation of migratory birds. In: Berthold P, Gwinner E, Sonnenschein E (eds) Avian migration. Springer, Berlin, pp 407–420Google Scholar
  6. BirdLife International (2004) Jynx torquilla and Upupa epops. In: IUCN 2007 IUCN Red list of threatened species, available at
  7. Cramp S (1985) Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. The birds of the Western Palearctic, vol 4. Terns to Woodpeckers. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  8. del Hoyo J, Elliott A, Sargatal J (2001) Handbook of the birds of the world. Mousebirds to Hornbills, vol 6. Lynx, BarcelonaGoogle Scholar
  9. Fry CH, Keith S, Urban EK (eds) (1988) The birds of Africa, vol 3. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Gauthier-Clerc M, Le Maho Y (2001) Beyond bird marking with rings. Ardea 89(Sp Iss):221–230Google Scholar
  11. Glutz von Blotzheim UN, Bauer KM (1966) Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas, vol Vol 9. Akademischer Verlag, Wiesbaden, Frankfurt am MainGoogle Scholar
  12. Hobson KA (1999) Tracing origins and migration of wildlife using stable isotopes: a review. Oecologia 120:314–326. doi: 10.1007/s004420050865 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Holmes RT (2007) Understanding population change in migratory songbirds: long-term and experimental studies of Neotropical migrants in breeding and wintering areas. Ibis 149(Suppl 2):2–13. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2007.00685.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Imboden C, Imboden D (1972) Formel für Orthodrome und Loxodrome bei der Berechnung von Richtung und Distanz zwischen Beringungs- und Wiederfundort. Vogelwarte 26:336–346Google Scholar
  15. IUCN (2001) IUCN Red list categories and criteria. IUCN Species Survival Commission, GlandGoogle Scholar
  16. Ketterson ED, Nolan VJ (1983) The evolution of differential migration. Curr Ornithol 1:357–402Google Scholar
  17. Korner-Nievergelt F (2004) R codes for the calculation of migration directions and loxodromic distances between two points on the Earth, available at
  18. Norris DR, Wunder MB, Boulet M (2006) Perspectives on migratory connectivity. Ornithol Monogr 61:79–88Google Scholar
  19. Pain DJ, Green RE, Giessing B, Kozulin A, Poluda A, Ottosson U, Flade M, Hilton GM (2004) Using stable isotopes to investigate migratory connectivity of the globally threatened aquatic warbler Acrocephalus paludicola. Oecologia 138:168–174. doi: 10.1007/s00442-003-1416-z PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Paradis E, Baillie SR, Sutherland WJ, Gregory RD (1998) Patterns of natal and breeding dispersal in birds. J Anim Ecol 67:518–536. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2656.1998.00215.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pfeifer R, Stadler J, Brandl R (2007) Birds from the Far East in Central Europe: a test of the reverse migration hypothesis. J Ornithol 148:379–385. doi: 10.1007/s10336-007-0140-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pfister C, Harrington BA, Lavine M (1992) The impact of human disturbance on shorebirds at a migration staging area. Biol Conserv 60:115–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Phillips RA, Catry P, Silk JRD, Bearhop S, McGill R, Afanasyev V, Strange IJ (2007) Movements, winter distribution and activity patterns of Falkland and brown skuas: insights from loggers and isotopes. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 345:281–291. doi: 10.3354/meps06991 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Procházka P, Hobson KA, Karcza Z, Kralj J (2008) Birds of a feather winter together: migratory connectivity in the Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus. J Ornithol 149:141–150. doi: 10.1007/s10336-007-0250-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rabøl J (1969) Reversed migration as the cause of westward vagrancy by four Phylloscopus warblers. Br Birds 62:89–92Google Scholar
  26. Rendahl H (1963) Über die Zugverhältnisse bei schwedischen Wendehälsen (Jynx torquilla L.). Arkiv Zoologi 16:315–329Google Scholar
  27. Saurola P (1999) Rengastuksen juhlavuosi 1999 (Summary: Bird ringing in Finland 1999). Linnut-vuosikirja (1999) 67–78Google Scholar
  28. Schüz E (1964) Zur Deutung der Zugscheiden des Weissstorchs. Vogelwarte 22:194–223Google Scholar
  29. Seilkopf H (1964) Beringter Wiedehopf (Upupa epops) auf dem Nordatlantik. In: Drost R, Kuhk R, Goethe F, Schüz E (eds) Die Vogelwarte: Berichte aus dem Arbeitsgebiet der Vogelwarten Kommissionsverlagen Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart, pp 178–180Google Scholar
  30. Speek G, Clark JA, Rohde Z, Wassenaar RD, Van Noordwijk AJ (2006) The EURING exchange-code 2000. Dutch Ringing Center, HeterenGoogle Scholar
  31. Szép T, Moller AP, Piper S, Nuttall R, Szabo ZD, Pap PL (2006) Searching for potential wintering and migration areas of a Danish Barn Swallow population in South Africa by correlating NDVI with survival estimates. J Ornithol 147:245–253. doi: 10.1007/s10336-006-0060-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Thorup K (2004) Reverse migration as a cause of vagrancy. Bird Study 51:228–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Walther BA, Schaffer N, van Niekerk A, Thuiller W, Rahbek C, Chown SL (2007) Modelling the winter distribution of a rare and endangered migrant, the Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola. Ibis 149:701–714. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2007.00690.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Webster MS, Marra PP (2005) The importance of understanding migratory connectivity and seasonal interactions. In: Greenberg R, Marra PP (eds) Birds of two worlds: the ecology and evolution of migration. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, pp 199–209Google Scholar
  35. Webster MS, Marra PP, Haig SM, Bensch S, Holmes RT (2002) Links between worlds: unraveling migratory connectivity. Trends Ecol Evol 17:76–83. doi: 10.1016/S0169-5347(01)02380-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Zink G, Bairlein F (1995) Der Zug europäischer Singvögel. Ein Atlas der Wiederfunde beringter Vögel, Aula, WiesbadenGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas S. Reichlin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Michael Schaub
    • 1
    • 2
  • Myles H. M. Menz
    • 1
  • Murielle Mermod
    • 1
  • Patricia Portner
    • 1
  • Raphaël Arlettaz
    • 1
    • 3
  • Lukas Jenni
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Conservation BiologyInstitute of Ecology and Evolution, University of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Swiss Ornithological InstituteSempachSwitzerland
  3. 3.Swiss Ornithological InstituteSalgeschSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations