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Migration routes and stopover sites of Black-necked Cranes determined by satellite tracking

Authors

  • Fawen Qian,

    Corresponding author
    1. College of Life Science, Beijing Normal University, 100875, People's Republic of China
    2. Institute of Forestry Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, People's Republic of China
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  • Heqi Wu,

    Corresponding author
    1. Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 32 Jiaochang Donglu, Kunming, Yunnan 650223, People's Republic of China
    2. Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, People's Republic of China
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  • Libo Gao,

    1. Institute of Forestry Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, People's Republic of China
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  • Huige Zhang,

    1. Institute of Forestry Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, People's Republic of China
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  • Fengshan Li,

    1. International Crane Foundation, E-11376 Shady Lane Road, Baraboo, Wisconsin 53913, USA
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  • Xingyao Zhong,

    1. Dashanbao Black-necked Crane National Nature Reserve Management Bureau, Yunnan 657000, People's Republic of China
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  • Xiaojun Yang,

    Corresponding author
    1. Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 32 Jiaochang Donglu, Kunming, Yunnan 650223, People's Republic of China
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  • Guangmei Zheng

    Corresponding author
    1. College of Life Science, Beijing Normal University, 100875, People's Republic of China
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Fawan Qian and Heqi Wu contributed equally to this paper.

Corresponding authors. Email: yangxj@mail.kiz.ac.cn; zhenggm@bnu.edu.cn

Abstract

ABSTRACT Because their breeding and wintering areas are in remote locations, little is known about the biology of Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis), including their migratory behavior. Using satellite telemetry, we monitored the migration of Black-necked Cranes (N= 6) in China to determine migration routes and the location of stopover sites. From 2005 to 2007, four cranes were tracked during two spring migrations and one fall migration, one was tracked during one spring and one fall migration, and one was tracked during one spring migration. On average, the cranes made seven flights over a 5-d period to migrate 651 km to breeding areas in the spring. In the fall, birds averaged six flights in 5 d to migrate 694 km. The routes traveled by cranes during spring and autumn migration were similar. Both the migration distances and duration of migration are the shortest reported for any crane species to date. Most stopover sites were in areas along rivers and close to wetlands in the Daliang Mountains and the Ruoergai Plateau. Conservation measures are needed to reduce habitat loss (wetland and pasture) in the Daliang Mountains and establish a reserve for stopover sites in the Ruoergai marshes, such as Longriba and Bai River in Hongyuan County.

RESUMEN

Se necesita información adicional sobre la conducta migratoria de la grulla (Grus nigricollis) para formular medidas de conservación adecuadas. Usando radiotelemetría por satélite, monitoreamos la migración de seis grullas en China, para determinar las rutas utilizadas y los lugares de parada. De 2005–2007, cuatro individuos fueron monitoreados durante dos periodos de migración primaveral y uno otoñal. Un individuo fue seguido durante una primavera y un otoño y el individuo restante durante la primavera. En promedio, las grullas hicieron siete vuelos, durante un periodo de cinco días, y se desplazaron 651 km, para llegar al lugar donde se reproducen durante la primavera. Las rutas utilizadas durante la primavera y el otoño fueron similares. Ambas, la distancia migrada y la duración de la migración es la más corta informada hasta el presente para grullas. Los lugares de parada, fueron localidades a lo largo de ríos y aledaños a áreas anegadas a las montañas Daliang y el plateau Ruoergai. Se necesitan medidas de conservación para reducir la pérdida de hábitat (anegados y pastizales) en las montanas Daliang, y establecer una reserva en el área de parada en anegados de Ruoergai, tales como Longriba y el Río Bai, en Hongyuan.

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