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Geographic variation in body mass of first-year Reed Warblers Acrocephalus scirpaceus in Iberia

  • Miren Andueza
  • Emilio Barba
  • Jose L. Arroyo
  • Jordi Feliu
  • Jaime Gómez
  • Fernando Jubete
  • Luis Lozano
  • Juan S. Monrós
  • Rubén Moreno-Opo
  • Julio Neto
  • Alejandro Onrubia
  • Paulo Tenreiro
  • Thijs Valkenburg
  • Juan Arizaga
Publishing year: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 88-99
Publication/Series: Ornis Fennica
Volume: 91
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: BirdLife Finland

Abstract english

On their route to tropical Africa, European trans-Saharan migrants must cross two major geographical barriers, the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert, which necessitates the accumulation of large fuel loads. While northern Africa is the chief region where most migrants gain fuel for the Sahara crossing, Iberia is a target area to gain fuel before the sea crossing existing between Europe and Africa. Despite the large body of studies approach- ing the question of fuel accumulation before geographic barriers, it is still poorly known which factors apart from distance to a certain barrier shape the geographical pattern of fuel reserves. To investigate this question in detail we used data of first-year Reed Warblers from 12 localities within Iberia during the autumn migration period of 2009. We run linear models to analyze the effects of location in Iberia, date, and body size on body mass variation at each migratory flyway (eastern, central and western Iberia). Flight ranges from each site were also calculated. Our results showed that Reed Warblers in Iberia had the necessary fuel needed to arrive in northern Africa but not to tropical Africa. However, body mass patterns varied depending on the geographical region (eastern, central or west- ern Iberia). Date did not affect body mass in central and western Iberia, but in eastern Ibe- ria heavier birds tended to pass later. Thus, the factors shaping body mass of Reed War- blers in Iberia before the sea crossing to Africa seemed to be more complex than just the distance to this geographical barrier, with underlying stopover quality-associated factors possibly playing a relevant role.


  • Biological Sciences


  • Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab
  • ISSN: 0030-5685
Júlio Neto
E-mail: julio [dot] neto [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Visiting research fellow



Sölvegatan 37, Lund


Research group

Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab