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Migration ecology of aerial insectivorous birds

Aerial insectivorous birds are highly mobile. Their lifestyle challenge many physiological, sensory and behavioural limitations, as they constantly move in a fluid environment to collect food and to transport themselves between areas of importance. Many aerial insectivorous birds are furthermore declining in numbers, why they are of conservation concern. Due to their high mobility and small size, we still largely lack important information on migration performance, population connectivity and winter movements.

A swallow is sitting on a line against the blue sky.
Barn swallow in spring. Photo: Susanne Åkesson

Adapting to long-distance migration

In this project we study adaptations to long-distance migration and winter ecology in this group of birds, in which we compare the behavior between species and populations of nightjars, swallows and swifts. We use miniature tracking technology to record different types of sensory data, important to understand migration behavior, flight activity and movement patterns. We also use stable isotopes and genetic tools to investigate food preferences as well as population differentiation.

Two PhD students work on nightjars and swifts (Gabriel Norevik), and swallows (Himma Bakam), respectively.

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