Natal philopatry and local movement patterns of Twite Carduelis flavirostris

Twite (Carduelis flavirostris) Science Article 2


The Twite Carduelis flavirostris is classified as a red-listed bird of conservation concern in the United Kingdom. Successful conservation initiatives will depend on an understanding of local movement patterns and natal philopatry as these will be important in determining how likely the species is to colonise new nesting areas. Natal philopatry was studied in twelve breeding colonies in the South Pennines Special Protection Area using an intensive colour-ringing programme. Of twenty birds colour-ringed as nestlings and relocated in a subsequent breeding season, half had returned to their natal colony. Seven had moved to adjacent colonies while the remaining three had moved up to 12.1 km away. Local movement patterns were studied by colour-ringing birds at two feeding stations outside the breeding season. These birds did not necessarily breed in adjacent colonies in subsequent years but rather dispersed throughout the South Pennines. In the post-breeding season, before winter migration, adults and first-year birds moved extensively throughout the study area. During this time, certain key feeding sites were utilised by individuals from widely dispersed colonies. The observed pattern of natal dispersal and local movements within the South Pennines suggests that historical breeding sites can be recolonised if appropriate breeding conditions are restored.

Andre F. Raine, David J. Sowter, Andrew F. Brown and William J. Sutherland, Ringing & Migration (2006) 23, 89-94

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