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Repeatable timing of northward departure, arrival and breeding in Black-tailed Godwits Limosa l. Limosa, but no domino effects
Lourenço, P.M.; Kentie, R.; Schroeder, J.; Groen, N.M.; Hooijmeijer, J.C.E.W.; Piersma, T. (2011). Repeatable timing of northward departure, arrival and breeding in Black-tailed Godwits Limosa l. Limosa, but no domino effects. J. Ornithol. 152(4): 1023-1032.
In: Journal of Ornithology. Springer: Berlin. ISSN 2193-7192, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Cross-season interactions; Migration ecology; Repeatability; Staging;Timing

Authors  Top 
  • Lourenço, P.M.
  • Kentie, R.
  • Schroeder, J.
  • Groen, N.M.
  • Hooijmeijer, J.C.E.W.
  • Piersma, T., more

    When early breeding is advantageous, migrants underway to the breeding areas may be time stressed. The timing of sequential events such as migration and breeding is expected to be correlated because of a "domino effect", and would be of particular biological importance if timings are repeatable within individuals between years. We studied a colour-marked population of Black-tailed Godwits Limosa l. limosa both on staging areas in Portugal and on breeding areas in The Netherlands. For each individual, we measured the timing of the staging period, the arrival date on the breeding area and the egg laying date. We measured average egg volume as a measure of reproductive investment. The date of departure from the staging areas, the arrival date on the breeding areas, and the egg laying date were repeatable among years in individual Black-tailed Godwits. The arrival dates of paired males and females and the average annual male and female arrival dates were correlated. The dates of departure from Portugal, arrival in The Netherlands, and egg laying were not correlated. Earlier clutches had larger eggs than late clutches. If the length of the individually available pre-laying period is accounted for, early arriving birds spent more time on the breeding grounds before laying than late arriving birds. The repeatability of the itineraries and the correlation between arrival timing of males and females are consistent with observations in other migrants. Despite evidence for early breeding being advantageous, we found no evidence of a "domino effect".

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