12 Jun 2018
Spatial and temporal migratory patterns of trans-Saharan birds in the Iberian Peninsula

BRANTA — Oscar Gordo

Spatial and temporal migratory patterns of trans-Saharan birds in the Iberian Peninsula

Institution: University of Barcelona, Spain

Supervisors: X. Ferrer, L. Brotons, JJ Sanz

Details: PhD, 2006

Dept. Conservation Biology.
Donana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC).
Seville, SPAIN.

Subject Keywords:climate change, bird migration, phenology, long-term study, citizen science, temporal trends, arrival date, temperature, rainfall, Sahel Index, NDVI, weather, Iberian Peninsula
Species Keywords: Barn Swallow, Common Swift, White Stork, Common Cuckoo, Common Nightingale, Hirundo rustica, Apus apus, Ciconia ciconia, Luscinia megarhynchos, Cuculus canorus


The spatial and temporal variability of migratory phenology of Ciconia ciconia, Cuculus canorus, Apus apus, Hirundo rustica and Luscinia megarhynchos was studied by means of 44,000 records for 1,400 Spanish sites during the period 1944-2004. In all species, first individuals arrived to the southern areas of Iberia, to low altitude sites, with dry and warm summers, and near to the Straits of Gibraltar. A. apus and H. rustica showed quite similar spatial patters due to the strong influence of fixed factors, which imposed optimum migratory pathways. The onset of singing of C. canorus and L. megarhynchos showed a different and weak geographical pattern, which suggests that other local environmental factors could be influencing singing behaviour of males. In spite to be a soaring species, C. ciconia followed similar spatial patters for spring arrivals. However, its autumn departure and length of stay did not show any spatial gradient. Excepting L. megarhynchos, all species advanced their arrival dates during the last three decades. Nevertheless, current dates are similar to those recorded sixty years ago. The strongest advancement was detected in C. ciconia, probably as a result of the growing number of wintering individuals in Iberia. In overall, species arrived earlier those years with plentiful rainfalls in western Africa and warmer spring temperatures in Iberia. Therefore, climate change is probably the underlying mechanism for temporal changes in migratory phenology in Mediterranean populations. Departure dates only showed a significant advancement in H. rustica. Departures were weakly related to climatic variables. Temperatures during breeding period advanced departures in all species, while only H. rustica was affected by temperatures at departure time.

Published Papers

Gordo, O., Brotons, L., Ferrer, X., Comas, P. 2005. Do changes in climate patterns in wintering areas affect the timing of the spring arrival of trans‐Saharan migrant birds?. Global Change Biology, 11(1): 12-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2004.00875.x

Gordo, O., Sanz, J. J. 2006. Climate change and bird phenology: a long‐term study in the Iberian Peninsula. Global Change Biology, 12(10): 1993-2004. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2006.01178.x

Gordo, O., Sanz, J. J., Lobo, J. M. 2007. Environmental and geographical constraints on common swift and barn swallow spring arrival patterns throughout the Iberian Peninsula. Journal of Biogeography, 34(6): 1065-1076. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2006.01679.x

Gordo, O., Sanz, J. J., Lobo, J. M. 2007. Spatial patterns of white stork (Ciconia ciconia) migratory phenology in the Iberian Peninsula. Journal of Ornithology, 148(3): 293-308. doi: 10.1007/s10336-007-0132-6

Gordo, O., Sanz, J. J. 2008. The relative importance of conditions in wintering and passage areas on spring arrival dates: the case of long-distance Iberian migrants. Journal of Ornithology, 149(2): 199-210. doi: 10.1007/s10336-007-0260-z

Gordo, O., Sanz, J. J., Lobo, J. M. (2008). Geographic variation in onset of singing among populations of two migratory birds. Acta Oecologica, 34(1): 50-64. doi: 10.1016/j.actao.2008.03.006

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