Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 151, Issue 3, pp 745–748 | Cite as

Extraordinary high natal philopatry in a migratory passerine

  • Marc I. Förschler
  • Esther del Val
  • Franz Bairlein
Short Note


Natal dispersal is a key component of population dynamics in birds. It guarantees the genetic exchange of populations, favours range expansions and reduces intraspecific competition. In general, natal philopatry of migratory passerines is quite low (0–13.5%). In this study, we give evidence that, under specific conditions, migratory populations of passerine birds may show a considerably elevated natal philopatry. In a Linnet Carduelis cannabina population on the remote island of Helgoland in the North Sea, we found an extraordinary high return rate of yearlings (38%), which corresponds exactly to the annual survival rate of the species. Despite being completely migratory, the Linnets of Helgoland apparently return to a large extent to their native area and consequently might support the population maintenance on the island. Further studies are needed to reveal if this high natal philopatry is only an unusual 1-year event or a general characteristic of this partially isolated island population.


Natal philopatry Site fidelity Dispersal Migratory passerine Linnet Carduelis cannabina 


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc I. Förschler
    • 1
  • Esther del Val
    • 1
    • 2
  • Franz Bairlein
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Avian ResearchVogelwarte HelgolandWilhelmshavenGermany
  2. 2.Museu de Ciències Naturals de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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