Mapping the migratory routes and wintering areas of Lesser Kestrels Falco naumanni: new insights from satellite telemetry

Authors

  • RUBEN LIMIÑANA,

    Corresponding author
    1. Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos (IREC), CSIC-UCLM-JCCM, Ronda de Toledo, E-13005 Ciudad Real, Spain
    2. Estación Biológica Terra Natura, Instituto Universitario de Investigación CIBIO, Universidad de Alicante, E-03080 Alicante, Spain
      Corresponding author.
      Email: ruben.lm@gmail.com
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  • MARTA ROMERO,

    1. Estación Biológica Terra Natura, Instituto Universitario de Investigación CIBIO, Universidad de Alicante, E-03080 Alicante, Spain
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  • UGO MELLONE,

    1. Estación Biológica Terra Natura, Instituto Universitario de Investigación CIBIO, Universidad de Alicante, E-03080 Alicante, Spain
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  • VICENTE URIOS

    1. Estación Biológica Terra Natura, Instituto Universitario de Investigación CIBIO, Universidad de Alicante, E-03080 Alicante, Spain
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Corresponding author.
Email: ruben.lm@gmail.com

Abstract

Recent improvements in satellite tracking, such as the miniaturization of transmitters, have enabled the study of movements of an increasing number of bird species. The Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni has been the subject of numerous studies but detailed information on its migration routes and wintering areas is still lacking. Here, we provide a detailed description of migration routes, timing of migration and wintering areas of Lesser Kestrels. Five adults fitted with satellite transmitters in southeastern Spain were tracked during autumn and spring migration journeys and on their wintering grounds. The overall migration duration was longer in spring than in autumn, although birds also showed longer stopovers in this season and hence the number of travelling days was lower. Lesser Kestrels covered longer daily distances in spring due to a higher frequency of nocturnal migration, rather than differences in flight speed, which did not differ between seasons. Wintering areas of Lesser Kestrels from the same breeding colony were widely spaced throughout the western Sahel along the borders of Mauritania, Mali and Senegal, approximately 2800 km from their breeding sites. The autumn migration duration of Lesser Kestrels derived from recent studies using geolocators was underestimated compared with that recorded by satellite telemetry. Given the current rapid habitat loss in the Sahel, a better understanding of migratory routes and wintering areas of other populations of this species would be important to assess its influence on population trends.

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