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Rapid long-distance migration in Norwegian Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus fuscus along their eastern flyway

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Email: jan.o.bustnes@nina.no

Abstract

We studied the long-distance migration of Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus fuscus breeding in northern Norway along their eastern flyway using geolocators in 2009 and 2010. The majority of birds wintered in lakes in East Africa and the southeast Mediterranean was the most important stopover area. Larus f. fuscus along the eastern flyway travelled at a net travel speed of 399 and 177 km/day during the autumn and spring migration, respectively, higher than published travel speeds for Dutch Larus fuscus migrating along the western flyway. The results suggest that the long-distance migratory Norwegian L. f. fuscus seek to minimize time spent in transit, whereas lower travel speed during northerly spring migration may reflect differences in wind patterns or food conditions between spring and autumn.

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