Dispersal in Raptors

  • David SerranoEmail author


Dispersal in raptors and their underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown because of the difficulties inherent to track highly mobile and often shy species across large landscapes. Raptors have a number of peculiarities that open new perspectives in the study of dispersal. Many species have delayed maturity and spend the first years of life as floaters, wandering over large areas and seeking for a breeding opportunity. The fact that many species are of conservation concern, often distributing themselves in restricted geographical areas or in spatially structured populations, attaches great importance to the understanding of dispersal on its more applied side. Questions such as the spatial scale at which management efforts should be focused or which are the most efficient reintroduction/reinforcement strategies are highly dependent on dispersal, so failing to consider it may compromise conservation success. But studying dispersal in raptors is far from simple, and most research in the past has focused on describing dispersal patterns or identifying social and environmental factors affecting departure and/or settlement decisions and Euclidean realized dispersal distances. The underlying movement process by which individuals wander and explore the environment is however poorly known, a gap that is beginning to be fulfilled through the development of new tracking technologies. Similarly, we are only now starting to glimpse the importance of between- and within-individual variations in movement, a very promising field rooted on emergent and flourishing research lines such as the study of behavioural syndromes. Dispersal in raptors has benefited from the recent advent of movement ecology as a discipline called to unify in a unique theoretical framework how, when, where and why organisms move, yet it is a complex phenomenon we still only partially understand.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Conservation BiologyDoñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC)SevilleSpain

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