Insights into the migration of the European Roller from ring recoveries

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  • Tom Finch (Lead Author)
  • Jamie Dunning
  • Orsolya Kiss
  • Edmunds Račinskis
  • Timothée Schwartz
  • Laimonas Sniauksta
  • Otto Szekeres
  • Bela Tokody
  • Aldina Franco
  • Simon Butler

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Here we present the first international analysis of ring recovery data in the European Roller - a long distance migrant of conservation concern - comprising 58 records of Rollers ringed during the breeding season and recovered during the non-breeding season. Most records come from eastern Europe, half are of juveniles and over three quarters are of dead birds. Thus, ring recoveries provide migration data for cohorts of Rollers - juveniles and unsuccessful migrants - for which no information currently exists, complementing recent tracking studies. Qualitatively, our results are consistent with direct tracking studies, illustrating a broad-front migration across the Mediterranean basin in autumn and the use of the Arabian Peninsula by Rollers from eastern populations in spring. Autumn movements were, on average, in a more southerly direction for juveniles than adults, which were more easterly. After the exclusion of outliers, juvenile movements were also more variable. This is consistent with juveniles following a naïve vector-based orientation program, and perhaps explains the 'moderate' migratory connectivity previously described for the Roller. The recovery age ratio was juvenile-biased in autumn but adult-biased in spring. Although this difference was not significant, it points towards a higher non-breeding season mortality of juveniles than adults. We also provide the first (qualitative) analysis of causes of non-breeding season mortality, highlighting the high prevalence of shooting.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83–90
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Ornithology
Issue number1
Early online date10 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Bibliographic note

Finch, T., Dunning, J., Kiss, O. et al. J Ornithol (2017) 158: 83. doi:10.1007/s10336-016-1374-y © The Author(s) 2016 Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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