Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 151, Issue 3, pp 687–694

Advanced departure dates in long-distance migratory raptors

  • Ondine Filippi-Codaccioni
  • Jean-Pierre Moussus
  • Jean-Paul Urcun
  • Frédéric Jiguet
Original article


Evidences for phenological changes in response to climate change are now numerous. One of the most documented changes has been the advance of spring arrival dates in migratory birds. However, the effects of climate change on subsequent events of the annual cycle remain poorly studied and understood. Moreover, the rare studies on autumn migration have mainly concerned passerines. Here, we investigated whether raptor species have changed their autumn migratory phenology during the past 30 years at one of the most important convergent points of western European migration routes in France, the Organbidexka pass, in the Western Pyrenees. Eight out of the 14 studied raptor species showed significant phenological shifts during 1981–2008. Long-distance migrants displayed stronger phenological responses than short-distance migrants, and advanced their mean passage dates significantly. As only some short-distance migrants were found to delay their autumn migration and as their trends in breeding and migrating numbers were not significantly negative, we were not able to show any possible settling process of raptor populations. Negative trends in numbers of migrating raptors were found to be related to weaker phenological responses. Further studies using data from other migration sites are necessary to investigate eventual changes in migration routes and possible settling process.


Climate change Migrating birds Trans-Saharan Mean passage dates Phenology 


  1. Alerstam T (1990) Bird migration. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Bairlein F, Winkel W (2001) Changes and risks. In: Lozan JL, Graûl H, Hupfer P (eds) Climate of the 21st century. Wissenschaftliche Auswertungen, Hamburg, pp 278–282Google Scholar
  3. Berthold P (1990) Vogelzug. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, DarmstadtGoogle Scholar
  4. Both C, van Asch M, Bijlsma RG, van den Burg AB, Visser ME (2009) Climate change and unequal phenological changes across four trophic levels: constraints or adaptations? J Anim Ecol 78:73–83CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Cramp S, Simmons KEL, Perrins CM (eds) (1977–1994) Birds of the western Palearctic, vol. 9. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  6. Devisse J-S, Urcun J-P (1994) Mise en place du suivi de populations européennes d’oiseaux migrateurs transpyrénéens, Fasc. I. Rapport SRETIE/MERE/8815. Organbidexka Col Libre, Jasses. Available from
  7. Gatter W (1992) Zugzeiten und Zugmuster im Herbst: Einfluss des Treibhauseffektes auf den Vogelzug? J Ornithol 133:427–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gilyazov A, Sparks T (2002) Change in the timing of migration of common birds at the Lapland Nature Reserve (Kola Peninsula, Russia) during 1931–1999. Avian Ecol Behav 8:35–47Google Scholar
  9. Birdlife International (2004) Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  10. Jenni L, Kéry M (2003) Timing of autumn bird migration under climate change: advances in long-distance migrants, delays in short-distance migrants. Proc R Soc Lond B 270:1467–1471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jonzén N, Linden A, Ergon T, Knudsen E, Vik JO, Rubolini D, Piacentini D, Brinch C, Spina F, Karlsson L, Stervander M, Andersson A, Waldenstrom J, Lehikoinen A, Edvardsen E, Solvang R, Stenseth NC (2006) Rapid advance of spring arrival dates in long-distance migratory birds. Science 312:1959–1961CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Knudsen E, Linden A, Ergon T, Jonzen N, Vik JO, Knape J, Roer JE, Stenseth NC (2007) Characterizing bird migration phenology using data from standardized monitoring at bird observatories. Clim Res 35:59–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lehikoinen A (2009) Climate forcing on avian life history. Dissertation, University of Helsinki. Available from
  14. Lehikoinen E, Sparks T, Zalakevicius M (2004) Arrival and departure dates. In: Møller AP, Fiedler W, Berthold P (eds) Birds and climate change. Advances in ecological research, vol 35. Academic, New York, pp 1–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lehikoinen A, Byholm P, Ranta E, Saurola P, Valkama J, Korpimäki E, Pietiäinen H, Henttonen H (2009) Reproduction of the common buzzard at its northern range margin under climatic change. Oikos 118:829–836CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Miller-Rushing AJ, Lloyd-Evans TL, Primack RB, Satzinger P (2008) Bird migration times, climate change, and changing population sizes. Glob Chang Biol 14:1959–1972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Møller AP, Rubolini D, Lehikoinen E (2008) Populations of migratory bird species that did not show a phenological response to climate change are declining. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:16195–16200CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Moussus JP, Jiguet F, Clavel J, Julliard R (2009) A method to estimate phenological variation using data from large-scale abundance monitoring programmes. Bird Study 56:198–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Newton I (2008) The migration ecology of birds. Academic, LondonGoogle Scholar
  20. R Development Core Team (2006) R, A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for statistical computing, Vienna. Available from Accessed September 2006
  21. Sokolov LV (2006) Effect of global warming on the timing of migration and breeding of passerine birds in the 20th century. Entomol Rev 86:59–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sokolov LV, Markovets MYu, Shapoval AP, Morozov YuG (1998) Long-term trends in the timing of spring migration of passerines on the Courish Spit of the Baltic Sea. Avian Ecol Behav 1:1–21Google Scholar
  23. Sparks TH, Bairlein F, Bojarinova JG, Huppop O, Lehikoinen EA, Rainio K, Sokolov LV, Walker D (2005) Examining the total arrival distribution of migratory birds. Glob Chang Biol 11:22–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Strandberg R, Klaassen RHG, Hake M, Olofsson P, Thorup K, Alerstam T (2008) Complex timing of Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus migration due to pre- and post-migratory movements. Ardea 96:159–172Google Scholar
  25. Thorup K, Tøttrup AP, Rahbek C (2007) Patterns of phenological changes in migratory birds. Oecologia 151:697–703CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Tøttrup AP, Thorup K, Rahbek C (2006) Changes in timing of autumn migration in North European songbird populations. Ardea 94:527–536Google Scholar
  27. Tryjanowski P, Sparks TH (2001) Is the detection of the first arrival date of migrating birds influenced by population size? A case study of the red-backed shrike Lanius collurio. Int J Biometeorol 45:217–219CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Vähätalo A, Rainio K, Lehikoinen A, Lehikoinen E (2004) Spring arrival of birds depends on North Atlantic oscillation. J Avian Biol 35:210–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Visser M, Perdeck AC, Van Balen JH, Both C (2009) Climate change leads to decreasing bird migration distances. Glob Chang Biol 15:1859–1865CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Walther GR, Post E, Convey P, Menzel A, Parmesan C, Beebee TJC, Fromentin J-M, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Bairlein F (2002) Ecological responses to recent climate change. Nature 416:389–395CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Zalakevicius M, Bartkeviciene G, Raudonikis L, Janulaitis J (2006) Spring arrival response to climate change in birds: a case study from eastern Europe. J Ornithol 147:326–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ondine Filippi-Codaccioni
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jean-Pierre Moussus
    • 1
  • Jean-Paul Urcun
    • 2
  • Frédéric Jiguet
    • 1
  1. 1.Muséum National d’Histoire NaturelleUMR 7204 MNHN-CNRS-UPMC «Conservation des Espèces, Restauration et Suivi des Populations», CP51ParisFrance
  2. 2.Ligue pour la Protection des OiseauxLPO AquitaineBordeauxFrance

Personalised recommendations