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Radio-telemetry observations of the first 650 km of the migration of Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica from the Wadden Sea to the Russian Arctic

  • Martin Green
  • T Piersma
  • J Jukema
  • P De Goeij
  • B Spaans
  • J Van Gils
Publishing year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 71-80
Publication/Series: Ardea
Volume: 90
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Nederlandse Ornithologische Unie

Abstract english

In 1999 and 2000, 45 Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica were supplied with radio-transmitters during spring staging on the island Texel in the western Wadden Sea. With the use of Automatic Radio Tracking Stations (ARTS) on Texel and in south Sweden, and hand-held receivers on Texel, it was possible to follow the later part of the stopover period on Texel for 34 birds (76%) and the passage over south Sweden for 26 birds (58%). Thus, the method of automatic tracking of overflying migrating shorebirds works successfully where the migration corridor is narrow and predictable, as in the case with late spring shorebird migration from the Wadden Sea towards arctic Russia. The timing of departure from Texel and passage over south Sweden of radio-marked birds, with median dates of 30 May and 2 June respectively, were in agreement with published data on the spring migration of Siberian-breeding Bar-tailed Godwits L. l. taymyrensis. The individual variation in migration dates was larger than expected, with birds passing south Sweden between 25 May and 10 June, indicating that the time-window for departure might be broader than previously thought. There was no clear difference between males and females in timing of migration. The time difference between departure from Texel and passage over south Sweden (average 3.3 days) indicates that most Bar-tailed Godwits do not embark on the long flight towards Siberia directly from the western Wadden Sea, but are more likely to stop in the more easterly portion of the Wadden Sea before the final take-off. This pattern is similar to what has been found in other shorebirds and geese (e.g. Red Knots Calidris cantus and Dark-bellied Brent Geese Branta bernicla) migrating along the same route.


  • Ecology


  • ISSN: 0373-2266
Martin Green
E-mail: martin [dot] green [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 38 16



Research group

Biodiversity and Conservation Science



PhD students & postdocs

Assistant supervisor

Dafne Ram