Insights into the migration of the European Roller from ring recoveries

Tom Finch (Lead Author), Jamie Dunning, Orsolya Kiss, Edmunds Račinskis, Timothée Schwartz, Laimonas Sniauksta, Otto Szekeres, Bela Tokody, Aldina Franco, Simon Butler

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Here we present the first international analysis of ring recovery data in the European Roller - a long distance migrant of conservation concern - comprising 58 records of Rollers ringed during the breeding season and recovered during the non-breeding season. Most records come from eastern Europe, half are of juveniles and over three quarters are of dead birds. Thus, ring recoveries provide migration data for cohorts of Rollers - juveniles and unsuccessful migrants - for which no information currently exists, complementing recent tracking studies. Qualitatively, our results are consistent with direct tracking studies, illustrating a broad-front migration across the Mediterranean basin in autumn and the use of the Arabian Peninsula by Rollers from eastern populations in spring. Autumn movements were, on average, in a more southerly direction for juveniles than adults, which were more easterly. After the exclusion of outliers, juvenile movements were also more variable. This is consistent with juveniles following a naïve vector-based orientation program, and perhaps explains the 'moderate' migratory connectivity previously described for the Roller. The recovery age ratio was juvenile-biased in autumn but adult-biased in spring. Although this difference was not significant, it points towards a higher non-breeding season mortality of juveniles than adults. We also provide the first (qualitative) analysis of causes of non-breeding season mortality, highlighting the high prevalence of shooting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83–90
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Ornithology
Issue number1
Early online date10 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

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