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Avian Migration

This is an article collection published in Avian Research.

Edited by: Kasper Thorup, Lei Cao, Anthony David Fox, Zhijun Ma

Two hundred and fifty years ago, the British naturalist Gilbert White was conflicted between his belief that Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) migrated to warmer climes in winter versus the prevailing view that they hibernated in the bottom of lake. Two hundred years later, metal leg ring recoveries revolutionised our understanding of bird migration and confirmed that White’s suspicions were correct. In the last thirty years, the application of miniaturized telemetry devices have similarly revolutionised our knowledge of the migration patterns of large-bodied birds. Technological tracking of the movements in time and space of individual birds are providing us with great insight about when, how and why birds migrate along their migration routes. Many migratory birds depend on islands of suitable habitat to navigate their way between breeding and wintering areas, but the integrity of their flyways are increasingly threatened by major environmental change (such as unsustainable harvest, habitat loss/degradation and climate change).  It is ever more urgent, therefore, that we use information from telemetry studies to inform us about flyways and population definition, the timing and flexibility of migration schedules, the physiology during migration and strategies adopted to pass between vast tracts of uninhabitable terrain between breeding, staging and wintering areas. Given our global responsibility for protecting these shared populations, we also need to exploit telemetry information to identify the key staging habitats exploited along their migration routes and to determine whether our site-safeguard networks are fit for purpose in delivering effective cohesive protected areas sufficient to provide adequate resources to safeguard these populations for future generations.

The expanding activity and increasing interest in bird telemetry has created a unique momentum in this research field. This collection is focusing on the functional benefits of modern telemetry to the research and conservation of birds, especially of waterbirds. It brings together research based on different methods using different study species, to attempt to synthesize across experiences for the benefit of next generation studies. 

Published articles in this collection

  1. The Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor) is a globally threatened species, nesting mainly in western Korea with smaller numbers breeding in Liaoning Province, China, and Far East Russia. Recent winter field sur...

    Authors: Yiwen Chen, Yat-tung Yu, Fanjuan Meng, Xueqin Deng, Lei Cao and Anthony David Fox
    Citation: Avian Research 2021 12:74
  2. The Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides) breeds across Mongolia and adjacent China and Russia and winters exclusively in China. It is globally threatened, showing long-term major range contractions and declining abundanc...

    Authors: Iderbat Damba, Junjian Zhang, Kunpeng Yi, Huashan Dou, Nyambayar Batbayar, Tseveenmyadag Natsagdorj, Batmunkh Davaasuren, Lei Cao and Anthony David Fox
    Citation: Avian Research 2021 12:73
  3. In the face of continued degradation and loss of wetlands in the Yangtze River floodplain (YRF), there is an urgent need to monitor the abundance and distribution of wintering waterbirds. To understand fully o...

    Authors: Yuxi Wang, Iderbat Damba, Qingshan Zhao, Yanbo Xie, Xueqing Deng, Rdi Ga, Guanhua Liu, Zhiwen Xu, Yue Li, Dali Gao, Wenbin Xu, Guoxun Chen and Lei Cao
    Citation: Avian Research 2021 12:72
  4. GPS/GSM tracking data were used to contrast use of (i) habitats and (ii) protected areas between three Arctic-nesting Greater White-fronted Geese (Anser albifrons, GWFG) populations throughout the annual cycle. W...

    Authors: Xueqin Deng, Qingshan Zhao, Junjian Zhang, Andrea Kölzsch, Diana Solovyeva, Inga Bysykatova-Harmey, Zhenggang Xu, Helmut Kruckenberg, Lei Cao and Anthony David Fox
    Citation: Avian Research 2021 12:71
  5. The Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) occurs throughout Eurasia and North and sub-Saharan Africa, with three recognized subspecies and six geographically distributed populations. However, in China, we knew...

    Authors: Jire Xi, Xueqin Deng, Gerelt Zhao, Nyambayar Batbayar, Iderbat Damba, Qingshan Zhao, Shoubin Cui, Chao Jiang, Yiwen Chen, Yat-tung Yu, Lei Cao and Anthony David Fox
    Citation: Avian Research 2021 12:70
  6. Most long-distance migrating passerines that breed in Europe spend their winters in Africa, with only a few species migrating eastward to spend the non-breeding period in South Asia. The use of the Indo-Europe...

    Authors: Michał Korniluk, Paweł Białomyzy, Grzegorz Grygoruk, Tomasz Tumiel, Piotr Świętochowski and Marcin Wereszczuk
    Citation: Avian Research 2021 12:68
  7. The vulnerable Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes) is a long-distance migratory waterbird whose migration and wintering information is poorly understood. This study aims to identify the autumn migration routes and...

    Authors: Zhijun Huang, Xiaoping Zhou, Wenzhen Fang, Hailong Zhang and Xiaolin Chen
    Citation: Avian Research 2021 12:65
  8. In this study, we report the first ever documented instances of attempted and successful reproduction (rearing two offspring) of Oriental Storks (Ciconia boyciana) at age 2 years in a wild population in the middl...

    Authors: Anton Sasin, Anna Serdyuk, Baoguang Zhu and Qingshan Zhao
    Citation: Avian Research 2021 12:64
  9. Long-term ringing and telemetry studies show that the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is a broad-front migrant following different migratory flyways, depending on the geographical location of their breeding population...

    Authors: Dariusz Anderwald, Łukasz Czajka, Sławomir Rubacha, Michał Zygmunt and Paweł Mirski
    Citation: Avian Research 2021 12:46
  10. Despite an increasing number of surveys and a growing interest in birdwatching, the population and distribution of Asian Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus), a species endemic to the East Asian–Australasian and ...

    Authors: Ziyou Yang, Jing Li, Yongxiang Han, Chris J. Hassell, Kar-Sin Katherine Leung, David S. Melville, Yat-tung Yu, Lin Zhang and Chi-Yeung Choi
    Citation: Avian Research 2021 12:38
  11. The Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) breeds across the high plains and plateau of Central Asia and winters in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP), the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau and the Indian sub-continent. Of the two r...

    Authors: Junjian Zhang, Yanbo Xie, Laixing Li, Nyambayar Batbayar, Xueqin Deng, Iderbat Damba, Fanjuan Meng, Lei Cao and Anthony David Fox
    Citation: Avian Research 2020 11:49
  12. Unlike resident birds, migratory birds are generally believed to have evolved to enhance flight efficiency; however, direct evidence is still scarce due to the difficulty of measuring the flight speed and mech...

    Authors: Yang Wang, Yuan Yin, Zhipeng Ren, Chuan Jiang, Yanfeng Sun, Juyong Li, Ghulam Nabi, Yuefeng Wu and Dongming Li
    Citation: Avian Research 2020 11:25
  13. Conserving migratory birds is challenging due to their reliance on multiple distant sites at different stages of their annual life cycle. The concept of “flyway”, which refers to all areas covered by the breed...

    Authors: Fenliang Kuang, Jonathan T. Coleman, Chris J. Hassell, Kar-Sin K. Leung, Grace Maglio, Wanjuan Ke, Chuyu Cheng, Jiayuan Zhao, Zhengwang Zhang and Zhijun Ma
    Citation: Avian Research 2020 11:24