Very rapid long-distance sea crossing by a migratory bird

Alves, José A., Dias, Maria P., Méndez, Verónica, Katrínardóttir, Borgný and Gunnarsson, Tómas G. (2016) Very rapid long-distance sea crossing by a migratory bird. Scientific Reports, 6. ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

Landbirds undertaking within-continent migrations have the possibility to stop en route, but most long-distance migrants must also undertake large non-stop sea crossings, the length of which can vary greatly. For shorebirds migrating from Iceland to West Africa, the shortest route would involve one of the longest continuous sea crossings while alternative, mostly overland, routes are available. Using geolocators to track the migration of Icelandic whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus), we show that they can complete a round-trip of 11,000 km making two non-stop sea crossings and flying at speeds of up to 24 m s-1; the fastest recorded for shorebirds flying over the ocean. Although wind support could reduce flight energetic costs, whimbrels faced headwinds up to twice their ground speed, indicating that unfavourable and potentially fatal weather conditions are not uncommon. Such apparently high risk migrations might be more common than previously thought, with potential fitness gains outweighing the costs.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Faculty \ School:
Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2016 00:08
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2020 02:14
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/61763
DOI: 10.1038/srep38154

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