Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 155, Issue 1, pp 165–172 | Cite as

Assessing geographic origins of Teal (Anas crecca) through stable-hydrogen (δ 2H) isotope analyses of feathers and ring-recoveries

  • Matthieu GuillemainEmail author
  • Steven L. Van Wilgenburg
  • Pierre Legagneux
  • Keith A. Hobson
Original Article


Management of migratory game birds must be considered at the flyway scale. Flyway delineation has generally relied on ring recoveries, yet migratory connectivity between breeding and wintering grounds is often difficult to demonstrate due to low ring-recovery rates. To overcome the limitations of ring recoveries, we here relied on stable-hydrogen isotope ratios (δ 2H) from feathers of 939 hunted Teal (Anas crecca) in France in the winters of 2002–2003 to 2005–2006 to determine the geographic origin of these individuals. Likelihood-based assignment analyses, including the use of Bayesian priors based on ring recoveries, suggest that Teal wintering in France mostly originate from Russia, up to the Ural Mountains, and to a lesser extent from Finland. This suggests that more collaboration with Russia for the management of Teal in Europe should be encouraged. Our study identifies Teal breeding hotspots, which should receive greater research and monitoring attention. Our isotope assignment results can be used as a reference value in time against which future similar analyses could be compared, potentially to track geographic shifts linked with habitat and climate change.


Bayesian analysis Feather isotope ratios Geographic origin Migratory connectivity Teal Anas crecca 


Eingrenzung der geographischen Herkunft der Krickente ( Ansas crecca ) durch stabile Wasserstoffisotope ( δ 2H) aus Federn und durch Ringwiederfunde

Das Management von ziehendem Federwild muss den gesamten Zugweg mit einkalkulieren. Der Verlauf des Zugweges wurde bisher meist anhand von Ringwiederfunden abgeschätzt, doch aufgrund geringer Wiederfundraten konnte die Verbundenheit von Brut- und Wintergebieten oft nur schwer nachgewiesen werden. Um die Schwächen der Ringwiederfunddaten zu umgehen, nutzten wir stabile Isotope des Wasserstoffs (δ2H) aus Federn von 939 in Frankreich gejagten Krickenten (Anas crecca) aus den Wintern von 2002–2003 bis 2005–2006 zur Bestimmung der Herkunft dieser Vögel. Anhand von Likelihood-Analyse unter der Anwendung von Bayesscher A-Priori-Verteilung basierend auf Ringfunden, konnten wir die in Frankreich überwinternden Krickenten ihren Brutgebieten zuordnen. Diese schienen hauptsächlich in Russland bis hin zum Uralgebirge und zu einem geringeren Anteil in Finnland zu liegen. Dies legt nahe, dass eine engere Zusammenarbeit mit Russland in Bezug auf Krickentenbestände in Europa wünschenswert wäre. Unsere Studie zeigt die Hauptbrutgebiete, welche in Zukunft näher erforscht und besser überwacht werden sollten. Unsere Isotopenanalyse kann als Referenzpunkt für weitere ähnliche Analysen in der Zukunft genommen werden, um mögliche geographische Verschiebungen in Zusammenhang mit Habitatveränderung und Klimawandel verfolgen zu können



We thank the many Teal ringers who took part in this programme, and the many hunters who voluntarily provided Teal wings for this study. We also acknowledge the valuable help of Patrice Noble and Franck Latraube in processing the wings in the laboratory for measurement of length and sex/age determination. L.I. Wassenaar assisted with isotope measurements, and an anonymous reviewer and Gunnar Gunnarsson provided valuable comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthieu Guillemain
    • 1
    Email author
  • Steven L. Van Wilgenburg
    • 2
  • Pierre Legagneux
    • 3
  • Keith A. Hobson
    • 2
  1. 1.Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune SauvageCNERA Avifaune MigratriceArlesFrance
  2. 2.Environment CanadaSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.Département de Biologie & Centre d’Etudes NordiquesUniversité du Québec à RimouskiRimouskiCanada

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