Time, geography and weather provide insights into the ecological strategy of a migrant species

Nadal, Jesús; Ponz, Carolina; Comas, Carles; Margalida, Antoni (2019). Time, geography and weather provide insights into the ecological strategy of a migrant species. Science of the total environment, 649, pp. 1096-1104. Elsevier 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.08.345

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Farmland and migratory bird populations are in decline. The Common quail (Coturnix coturnix) provides an exception to this trend and its populations have remained stable over the last two decades. However, some basic facts regarding quail biology and ecology, such as the geographic distribution of age and sex classes during the summer, remain poorly understood. We analyzed 43,194 Spanish quail ringing records from1961 to 2014 to assess the effects of geography andweather conditions on the probability that individuals will be ringed during the various stages of their annual cycle (arrival –spring migration-, stationary breeding period, departure –autumn migration- and winter) for the different quail age-sex classes over time. We found that spatial distribution of the age and sex classes can be explained by date, latitude, longitude, altitude, rainfall, and temperature. Our results suggest that date accounts for most of the variation in the distribution of quail age classes, followed by the weather variables, and then latitude, and altitude. Similarly, date also accounts for most of the variation in the distribution of the two sexes. These results could partially explain why this species has avoided population decline, since its ecological strategy is based on its temporal and spatial distribution combined with the segregation of age and sex groups. We hypothesize that the distribution of quail age and sex classes follows variations in weather and habitat suitability to exploit seasonal and geographic variations in resource availability. The migratory and nomadicmovements of quail, combined with the occurrence ofmultiple breeding attempts within a single season, may also allow these birds to overcome the impacts of predators and anthropogenic environmental change. Conservation and management efforts should therefore take account of these age and sex related temporal and spatial patterns.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Margalida, Antoni

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

0048-9697

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

07 Apr 2020 14:07

Last Modified:

07 Apr 2020 14:07

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.08.345

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.141447

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/141447

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