Continental efforts: migration speed in spring and autumn in an inner-Asian migrant


  • Michael Raess

M. Raess, Department of Biological Rhythms and Behaviour, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Von-der-Tann-Str. 7, 82346 Andechs, Germany. E-mail:


Migration speed in passerines is generally assumed to be higher in spring than in autumn. So far this has been only shown for the western Palaearctic-Afrotropic migration system. I compiled published records of the movements of Siberian stonechats Saxicola torquata maura in Central and northern Asia to reconstruct their spatiotemporal movement patterns in this region and to estimate migration speed in spring and autumn. My estimate of spring migration speed in the Siberian stonechats does not differ from that in autumn and is lower than the reported spring migration speeds in European passerines. Northward progression of Siberian stonechats seems to be constrained by the prevailing environmental conditions, as indicated by low temperatures and vegetation indices. Low food availability at stopover and the obstruction of the migration route by steep environmental gradients may apply also to other migratory species in the area.