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Aves, 48/2 | 2011 | 65-86

  Migration and movements of the Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis in Europe
Libois, R.

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Article summary

Previous publications on the migrations and movements of Kingfishers have been limited to a few countries; there has not been any previous synthesis of the data from the whole of Europe. The present study, based on the Euring database, relates to the movements of 5.991 ringed and recaptured birds. The data were classified according to the status of each individual (pulli, juvenile or adult) as noted at ringing, the time of year (autumn and winter; spring; period of reproduction), and general geographical area (see Materials and Methods). In the first autumn and winter, half of the pulli remained in the nesting area. Those that did move (between 25 and 250 km) dispersed approximately equally in all directions. The tendency to migrate was most marked among birds born in Sweden. The tendency decreased progressively in the sequence Northern Europe; Central Europe; North-Western Europe, where only 5% of birds migrate, moving in a southwesterly direction. Juvenile birds are less mobile (approximately 80%) than the pulli. Those which do move have the same pattern of dispersion as the pulli. The tendency to migrate is especially marked in Northern Europe, and is almost non-existent in Great Britain and in the Mediterranean peninsulas. In springtime, most birds are already occupied with nesting, but some migrate towards the N or NE, and some are delayed in their overwintering location. During the nesting period, the ex-pulli rarely take over the burrow in which they were born, while the majority of juveniles tend to remain in the area where they were first captured. Certain adults do change area at this time, this tendency being more marked among females, while male birds appear to be more attached to their home territory. In subsequent autumns the patterns of dispersion, of distance and of direction of ex-juveniles and ex-pulli are indistinguishable from those of the first autumn. In Sweden the adults migrate, whereas elsewhere adults have similar behaviours as juvenile birds; but adults are even more sedentary.

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