Honey buzzards don't always make a beeline
Journal of Animal Ecology
Reason for embargo
(a) European honey buzzards breeding in Western Europe primarily use soaring flight to make annual long-range migrations via the Strait of Gibraltar to winter in West Africa; this adult male was photographed on migration near Gibraltar. Photo: Javier Elloriaga. (b) Autumn migration routes of 12 satellite tagged adult European honey buzzards (colour-coded lines); compared with the shortest possible straight-line routes (dashed lines), most routes involved substantial westerly detours in Africa. Adapted from Vansteelant et al. (2016). (c) In contrast, Montagu's harriers predominantly use flapping flight during their migrations; this adult male is carrying a satellite transmitter. Photo: Theo van Kooten. (d) Autumn migration routes of 34 satellite tagged adult Montagu's harriers; migratory tracks more closely approached straight-line routes, and typically involved longer sea crossings, than seen in European honey buzzards. Adapted from Trierweiler et al. (). In Focus: Vansteelant, W.M.G., Shamoun-Baranes, J., van Manen, W., van Diermen, J. & Bouten, W. (2017) Seasonal detours by soaring migrants shaped by wind regimes along the East Atlantic Flyway. Journal of Animal Ecology, 86, 179-191. Migratory birds often make substantial detours from the shortest possible route during their annual migrations, which may potentially increase the duration and energetic cost of their journeys. Vansteelant et al. () investigate repeated migrations of adult European honey buzzards between the Netherlands and sub-Saharan Africa, and find that they make large westerly detours in Africa on both the spring and autumn routes. These detours allow migrants to capitalise on more favourable winds further along the route, thus reducing energy expenditure. Lifelong tracking studies will allow researchers to identify how migration routes have evolved to exploit predictable atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns.
This is the author's accepted manuscript
The final version is available from Wiley via the DOI in this record
Vol. 86, No. 2, pp. 173 - 175
Place of publication