Date:January 26, 2016
Source:University of East AngliaSummary:
Migratory birds that are 'set in their ways' could be more vulnerable to environmental impacts -- according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).
Many species of migratory birds are in decline as a result of human impacts such as climate change and habitat loss.
New research published today reveals why some species are more vulnerable than others.
It shows that species that migrate to a more diverse range of winter locations during their non-breeding season -- such as White Storks, Marsh Harriers and Reed Warblers -- are less likely to suffer population decline.
However species that tend to 'funnel' into smaller areas during the winter -- such as Turtle Doves and Wood Warblers -- have been more vulnerable to declining numbers, caused by human impacts.
Lead researcher Dr James Gilroy from UEA's School of Environmental Sciences said: "Birds are well-known for their remarkable long-distance migrations, often involving extreme feats of navigation and endurance. Unfortunately, many migratory birds are in decline, and there is an urgent need to understand what determines their vulnerability to human impacts.
"We wanted to know whether 'migratory diversity' -- the variability of migratory behaviour within species -- plays a role in determining their population trends."
The research team studied the migration patterns of 340 bird species in relation to their status across Europe over the last two decades (1990-2012).