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Flight range, fuel load, and the impact of climate change on the journeys of migrant birds

Howard, C.; Stephens, P.A.; Tobias, J.A.; Sheard, C.; Butchart, S.H.M.; Willis, S.G.

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Authors

C. Howard

J.A. Tobias

C. Sheard

S.H.M. Butchart



Abstract

Climate change is predicted to increase migration distances for many migratory species, but the physiological and temporal implications of longer migratory journeys have not been explored. Here, we combine information about species' flight range potential and migratory refuelling requirements to simulate the number of stopovers required and the duration of current migratory journeys for 77 bird species breeding in Europe. Using tracking data, we show that our estimates accord with recorded journey times and stopovers for most species. We then combine projections of altered migratory distances under climate change with models of avian flight to predict future migratory journeys. We find that 37% of migratory journeys undertaken by long-distance migrants will necessitate an additional stopover in future. These greater distances and the increased number of stops will substantially increase overall journey durations of many long-distance migratory species, a factor not currently considered in climate impact studies.

Citation

Howard, C., Stephens, P., Tobias, J., Sheard, C., Butchart, S., & Willis, S. (2018). Flight range, fuel load, and the impact of climate change on the journeys of migrant birds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 285(1873), Article 20172329. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.2329

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 31, 2018
Online Publication Date Feb 21, 2018
Publication Date Feb 21, 2018
Deposit Date Feb 7, 2018
Publicly Available Date Mar 20, 2018
Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Print ISSN 0962-8452
Electronic ISSN 1471-2954
Publisher The Royal Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 285
Issue 1873
Article Number 20172329
DOI https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.2329

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