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Common Whitethroats Curruca communis show a continuum of residency duration but a high degree of between-years site fidelity at non-breeding grounds in Nigeria
  • Claudia Tapia-Harris,
  • Will Cresswell
Claudia Tapia-Harris
University of St Andrews

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Will Cresswell
University of St Andrews
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The non-breeding period represents a significant part of an Afro-Palearctic migratory bird’s annual cycle. Decisions such as whether to remain at a single site and whether to return to it across years have important effects on aspects such as survival, future breeding success, migratory connectivity, and conservation. During this study, we colour-ringed > 300 Common Whitethroats Curruca communis and undertook daily resightings to understand site persistence and the degree of site fidelity throughout three non-breeding periods (November – April) in Nigeria. The probability of detecting a colour-ringed Whitethroat when it was present, was 0.33. Site persistence varied widely across individuals (1 – 165 days) and did not differ significantly with sex or year, though first-year birds remained for significantly shorter periods than adults. We believe that shorter residencies are likely due to the use of multiple stationary non-breeding sites rather than low winter survival. A minimum of 19% of individuals returned to the study site the following year and shifted, on average, 300 meters, suggesting that Whitethroats have a relatively high degree of between-years site fidelity at a very fine scale. An individual’s previous residency duration did not seem to determine its residency duration the following year. We suggest that spatial fidelity is high and constant through years, but temporal fidelity is not, and individual residency patterns vary, probably according to yearly and seasonal conditions. Our results highlight the complexity of the annual cycle of a single species and the importance of carrying out in situ, small scale research throughout a migrant’s annual cycle over several years.
21 Apr 2022Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
22 Apr 2022Submission Checks Completed
22 Apr 2022Assigned to Editor
30 Apr 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
01 Jul 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
05 Jul 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
24 Aug 20221st Revision Received
25 Aug 2022Submission Checks Completed
25 Aug 2022Assigned to Editor
25 Aug 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
30 Aug 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
Sep 2022Published in Ecology and Evolution volume 12 issue 9. 10.1002/ece3.9334