Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 159, Issue 1, pp 183–190 | Cite as

Timing of natal nests is an important factor affecting return rates of juvenile Great Reed Warblers

  • Kateřina Sosnovcová
  • Jaroslav Koleček
  • Milica Požgayová
  • Václav Jelínek
  • Michal Šulc
  • Petra Steidlová
  • Marcel Honza
  • Petr Procházka
Original Article


In many bird species, return rates tend to be greatest in the vicinity of their hatching site, thus natal philopatry is an important trait in avian demography. In the present study, we examined how conditions in natal nests affect return rates and dispersal distances of a long-distance migratory passerine. From 2008 to 2016, we studied a colour-ringed population of the Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus breeding in southeastern Czech Republic. Almost 10% of the 1430 ringed individuals returned to the study site within 2 years after fledging. Birds originating from earlier broods were more likely to return than birds from delayed broods. The variation in local dispersal distances was explained by the sex of the recruits: males dispersed shorter distances than females. There was no evidence that return rates and dispersal distances in Great Reed Warbler are related to other factors closely linked to the condition in the natal nest, namely brood social status and brood size. While the higher return rates of the juveniles from earlier broods is in concordance with the findings of other studies, the sex-related difference in dispersal distances does not correspond with what was found in Great Reed Warbler juveniles in other studies and adults at the same study site. Our results show that early breeding produces more local recruits and that sex-biased dispersal may be site specific.


Acrocephalus arundinaceus Juvenile condition Juvenile survival Local dispersal distances Natal philopatry 


Der Zeitpunkt ihres Schlüpfens ist ein wichtiger Faktor für die Rückkehrrate junger Drosselrohrsänger in ihr eigenes Brutgebiet

Bei vielen Vogelarten scheinen die Tiere am häufigsten in die Nähe desjenigen Ortes zurückzukehren, an dem sie selbst geschlüpft sind. Somit ist Geburtsortstreue ein wichtiges Merkmal der Vogel-Demographie. In der vorliegenden Studie haben wir untersucht, wie bei einem Langstreckenzieher die Verhältnisse im Schlüpfnest die Rückkehrrate und die Distanzen zum Nest beeinflussen. Von 2008 bis 2016 untersuchten wir eine farbig beringte Population des Drosselrohrsängers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) in ihrem Brutgebiet im süd-östlichen Teil der Tschechischen Republik. Innerhalb von 2 Jahren nach dem Ausfliegen kehrten fast 10% der 1430 beringten Tiere in dieses Gebiet zurück. Dabei kehrten früh geschlüpfte Tiere mit höherer Wahrscheinlichkeit zurück als Tiere aus späteren Bruten. Unterschiede in den örtlichen Distanzen zum Schlüpfnest erklärten sich anhand des Geschlechts der untersuchten Tiere: Männchen hielten eine kürzere Distanz zum Schlüpfnest als Weibchen. Es gab keine Hinweise darauf, dass diese Distanzen oder die Rückkehrraten bei den Drosselrohrsängern mit anderen Faktoren zusammenhängen, die eng mit den Verhältnissen im Schlüpfnest verknüpft sind, in erster Linie Gelegegröße und sozialer Status des einzelnen Nestlings. Während die höhere Rückkehrrate früh geschlüpfter Vögel gut zu den Ergebnissen aus anderen Studien mit Drosselrohrsängern passt, ist dies nicht der Fall für den geschlechtsspezifischen Unterschied in den Distanzen zum Schlüpfnest. Unsere Ergebnisse zeigen, dass frühes Brüten zu einer größeren Anzahl von ortstreuen Rückkehrern führt, wohingegen eine geschlechtsabhängige Entfernung zum eigenen Schlüpfnest ortsspezifisch sein könnte.



We thank Miroslav Čapek, Marek M. Abraham, Radovan Beňo, Lucie Halová, Roman Hrdlička, Tereza Karasová, Anna Kousalová, Lukáš Kulísek, Klára Morongová, Radka Piálková, Peter Samaš and Zuzana Šebelíková for their assistance in the field. We are grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, and the management of the Hodonín Fish Farm for permission to conduct the fieldwork on their grounds. This study was supported by the Czech Science Foundation (13-06451S).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical note

The study was carried out with the permission of regional conservation authorities (permit nos. 00312/558 PA/2008/AOPK, JMK20189/2010, JMK23530/2011, JMK115874/2013). Bird catching and ringing was conducted under licence (nos. 906, 1023, 1050 and 1058) and followed the rules issued by the Czech Bird Ringing Centre. The fieldwork adhered to the Animal Care Protocol of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (nos. 173/2008, 128/2010, 039/2011) and was in compliance with the current Czech Law on the Protection of Animals against Mistreatment (licence nos. V/1/2005/28, 0008/98-M103, CZ 01284, CZ 01272).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 523 kb)


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i.BrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Ecology, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePrague 2Czech Republic

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