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Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 153, Issue 3, pp 603–609 | Cite as

Migration pattern of Icelandic Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus graellsii: indications of a leap-frog system

  • Gunnar Thor Hallgrimsson
  • Hallgrimur V. Gunnarsson
  • Olafur Torfason
  • Roland-Jan Buijs
  • Kees C. J. Camphuysen
Original Article

Abstract

On the species level, the non-breeding distribution and the migration patterns of most European birds are well known. In contrast, the knowledge of the contribution of different breeding populations to particular non-breeding sites (migratory connectivity) is far more limited. We studied the non-breeding distribution of individually colour-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus fuscus graellsii) from Iceland and sought information on their migration pattern in respect to other populations (leap-frog, chain migration, random mix). Most winter resightings (94%) were from the southern part of the known winter range (Iberian Peninsula and northwest Africa). No statistical difference was found according to age on the latitudinal winter distribution, although 1st winter birds were on average 2° further south. Both 2nd and 3rd calendar year (cy) birds performed a northward spring migration,but spent the summer at lower latitudes than adults. The autumn migration for adults was earlier compared with 1st cy birds. A comparison of resightings of birds ringed in Iceland and in two projects from the Netherlands showed that these populations are not likely to contribute much to the wintering population in the UK. The proportion of winter resightings from Icelandic and Dutch populations showed that 44–65% were from the Iberian Peninsula. However, Dutch birds were much more likely to be seen in France (18–48 vs. 0.4%), but Icelandic birds were more likely to be seen in Africa (29 vs. 6–16%). These results indicate that Icelandic birds to some extent leap-frog more southerly populations.

Keywords

Age segregation Colour-ringing project Differential migration Migratory connectivity Non-breeding distribution 

Zusammenfassung

Zugmuster der Isländischen Heringsmöwe ( Larus fuscus graellsii ): Hinweise auf ein Übersprungs-System

Auf Art-Niveau sind das Vorkommen und die Zugmuster der meisten europäischen Vögel gut bekannt. Deutlich weniger weiß man hingegen über die Präsenz der unterschiedlichen Brut-Populationen in Gebieten, in denen nicht gebrütet wird (migratory connectivity). Wir untersuchten das Vorkommen einzelner beringter, isländischer Heringsmöwen (Larus fuscus graellsii), um Informationen über ihre Zugmuster in Zusammenhang mit anderen Populationen zu sammeln (Überspringen, Kettenwanderung, Zufalls-Mix). Die meisten (94%) Ringfunde und Sichtungen lagen im südlichen Teil der bekannten Überwinterungsgebiete (Iberische Halbinsel, Nordwest-Afrika), und es gab keine statistischen Unterschiede bezüglich des Alters der geographischen Winter-Verteilung, obwohl erstmals überwinternde Vögel im Schnitt 2 Grad weiter südlich zu finden waren. Vögel, die zum zweiten und dritten Mal überwinterten, zeigten eine mehr nördlich ausgerichtete Frühlingswanderung, verbrachten den Sommer aber auf südlicheren Breiten als die adulten Tiere. Die Herbstwanderung adulter Tiere ist früher schon mit der von Erstziehern verglichen worden. Ein Vergleich von in Island beringten Wiederfunden wie auch zwei Projekte in den Niederlanden zeigten, dass diese Populationen höchstwahrscheinlich nicht viel zu den im U.K. überwinternden Populationen beitragen. Ein Teil der Winter-Wiederfunde isländischer und niederländischer Populationen zeigte, dass 44–65% von diesen von der Iberischen Halbinsel stammten. Aber niederländische Vögel wurden mit größerer Wahrscheinlichkeit in Frankreich gesichtet (14–48 vs. 0.4%) und isländische Vögel eher in Afrika (29 vs. 6–16%). Diese Ergebnisse sind ein Hinweis darauf, dass isländische Vögel in gewissem Ausmaß südlichere Populationen überspringen.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We want to thank all of the many birdwatchers that reported colour-ringed gulls to us, and we encourage them to keep up the good work! Norman Deans Van Swelm gets best thanks for providing colour rings. The Icelandic project was initially coordinated by Arnor Sigfusson and later by Aevar Petersen. We thank Pall Hersteinsson for help with the manuscript before submission, and two anonymous reviewers who provided constructive comments on this paper.

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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gunnar Thor Hallgrimsson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hallgrimur V. Gunnarsson
    • 3
  • Olafur Torfason
    • 4
  • Roland-Jan Buijs
    • 5
  • Kees C. J. Camphuysen
    • 6
  1. 1.Institute of BiologyUniversity of IcelandReykjavikIceland
  2. 2.Reykjanes Environmental Research InstituteSandgerdiIceland
  3. 3.GardabaerIceland
  4. 4.HafnarfjordurIceland
  5. 5.Buijs Eco ConsultOud-VossemeerThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea ResearchDen BurgThe Netherlands

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