Post-breeding dispersal, breeding site fidelity and migration/wintering areas of migratory populations of Song Thrush Turdus philomelos in the Western Palearctic

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) Science Article 1


Song Thrush Turdus philomelos ring recovery data gathered over 90 years in central, north and east Europe were analysed in their breeding zones and in 14 migration/wintering areas in Europe, North Africa and the Near East. Few post-breeding movements were over 20 km before the end of September. Subsequent- year breeding site fidelity was high in May to August. Migratory T p philomelos moved southwest in autumn on a broad front. Scandinavian and northwest Russian birds moved down the northwest coast of continental Europe arriving in large numbers in southwest France in October; many adults then moved on to winter in west Iberia. Those ringed in central Europe, from Switzerland to Belarus, tended to follow the Rhine-Rhone route to the French Mediterranean before dispersing to winter in east Iberia, the Balearics and Algeria. Southeast European birds moved to north and west Italy in the autumn/early winter, many adults moving on to Corsica or Sardinia. Birds breeding in the Netherlands and northwest Germany appear to have two migration patterns. A short-distance group dispersed through Belgium to northwest France in autumn/early winter, moving on to England and Wales in late winter. A long-distance group migrated to southeast Biscay in October, many then moving on in midwinter to west Iberia. Recoveries of birds ringed in the Netherlands and northwest Germany showed a change to a more sedentary population after 1989, raising the possibility that the less migratory T p clarkei has increased in abundance relative to T p philomelos in this area. Subspecific identification would be useful to assess future changes in range boundaries of philomelos and clarkei within northern Europe.

R. D. P. Milwright, Ringing & Migration (2006) 23, 21-32

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