Document Detail

Great flights by great snipes: long and fast non-stop migration over benign habitats.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21613283     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Migratory land birds perform extreme endurance flights when crossing ecological barriers, such as deserts, oceans and ice-caps. When travelling over benign areas, birds are expected to migrate by shorter flight steps, since carrying the heavy fuel loads needed for long non-stop flights comes at considerable cost. Here, we show that great snipes Gallinago media made long and fast non-stop flights (4300-6800 km in 48-96 h), not only over deserts and seas but also over wide areas of suitable habitats, which represents a previously unknown migration strategy among land birds. Furthermore, the great snipes achieved very high ground speeds (15-27 m s(-1)), which was not an effect of strong tailwind support, and we know of no other animal that travels this rapidly over such a long distance. Our results demonstrate that some migratory birds are prepared to accept extreme costs of strenuous exercise and large fuel loads, even when stopover sites are available along the route and there is little tailwind assistance. A strategy of storing a lot of energy before departure, even if migration is over benign habitats, may be advantageous owing to differential conditions of fuel deposition, predation or infection risk along the migration route.
Raymond H G Klaassen; Thomas Alerstam; Peter Carlsson; James W Fox; Ake Lindström
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2011-05-25
Journal Detail:
Title:  Biology letters     Volume:  7     ISSN:  1744-957X     ISO Abbreviation:  Biol. Lett.     Publication Date:  2011 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-11-14     Completed Date:  2012-03-07     Revised Date:  2013-06-28    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101247722     Medline TA:  Biol Lett     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  833-5     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Biology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Migration*
Charadriiformes / physiology*
Flight, Animal*
Geographic Information Systems
Time Factors

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