Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 152, Issue 1, pp 1–13 | Cite as

The use of stopover sites by Black Storks (Ciconia nigra) migrating between West Europe and West Africa as revealed by satellite telemetry

  • D. ChevallierEmail author
  • Y. Le Maho
  • P. Brossault
  • F. Baillon
  • S. Massemin
Original Article


Migration is known to be a bottleneck in the annual cycle of many birds, and its success can depend on the availability of stopovers along the migration route. Satellite tracking was used to identify migratory strategies and important stopovers in 16 Black Storks (Ciconia nigra) during their autumn and spring migrations between European breeding areas and West African wintering sites. Some birds migrate without using stopovers, whereas others need to stop at least once during their migration: 1–5 stopovers were observed per bird, and half of all stopovers were located in Spain. Precise GPS locations indicated that it is unlikely that the storks forage near their night roost, just after or before their migratory flights. For the birds that do make stopovers, the tracking data reveal both inter- and intra-individual variability in the use of stopovers over the two migrations, suggesting a lack of fidelity to such sites. The number of stopovers was similar for potential breeders and non-breeders, although the length of stopovers was significantly longer for non-breeders than for potential breeders. No difference in stopover duration was found between autumn and spring migrations. Six stopovers were considered as important ones, based on the time spent there (>10 days). This study underlines the importance of protected areas along migratory paths and the necessity to plan protective measures for those stopover sites.


Bird Stopover Fidelity Migration Conservation 



We thank E. Challet, Y. Ropert-Coudert, V. A. Viblanc and J. Munro for their valuable comments on the manuscript. All experiments were carried out with permission of the National Forestry Commission of Burkina Faso. Particular acknowledgements go to the Eaux et Forêts of Burkina Faso, METEOFRANCE, the Office National des Forêts (O.N.F) in collaboration with SOLON and SOBA associations, Gil Mahé I.R.D—UMR HydroSciences—VAHYNE, School of Bure les Templiers, the Society GéoHyd and the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle and CRBPO. The African Land Cover database was provided by the US Geological Survey (USGS). The work was financial supported by the IRD (UR 136), Doué la Fontaine and Amnéville Zoos, the ACOVARENA (Association pour la Conservation et la Valorisation des Ressources Naturelles), the West African Ornithological Society and the Louis D. Fondation. D. Chevallier received grants from the Institut de France, the CNRS, the EU grant GOCE-2003-010284 EDEN and the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation provided S. Massemin with funding. This paper is catalogued by the EDEN steering Committee as EDEN 0211. The contents are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Chevallier
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Y. Le Maho
    • 1
  • P. Brossault
    • 2
    • 3
  • F. Baillon
    • 3
    • 4
  • S. Massemin
    • 1
  1. 1.IPHC-DEPE, CNRS, ULPStrasbourg CedexFrance
  2. 2.UR 136, IRDOrléans Cedex 2France
  3. 3.O.N.F Maison forestière de la Tête de MaiseyMaisey-le-DucFrance
  4. 4.Faculté de Médecine de MarseilleUMR190, IRD. Unité des Virus EmergentsMarseille cedex 05France

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