University of Oulu

Vega ML, Willemoes M, Thomson RL, Tolvanen J, Rutila J, Samaš P, et al. (2016) First-Time Migration in Juvenile Common Cuckoos Documented by Satellite Tracking. PLoS ONE 11(12): e0168940.

First-time migration in juvenile common cuckoos documented by satellite tracking

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Author: Vega, Marta Lomas1; Willemoes, Mikkel1; Thomson, Robert L.2,3;
Organizations: 1Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
2Department of Biology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
3FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
4Department of Ecology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland
6Department of Zoology and Laboratory of Ornithology, Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic
7Department of Biology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
8Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
9Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Sluppen, Trondheim, Norway
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Public Library of Science, 2016
Publish Date: 2020-04-22


Being an obligate parasite, juvenile common cuckoos Cuculus canorus are thought to reach their African wintering grounds from Palearctic breeding grounds without guidance from experienced conspecifics but this has not been documented. We used satellite tracking to study naïve migrating common cuckoos. Juvenile cuckoos left breeding sites in Finland moving slowly and less consistently directed than adult cuckoos. Migration of the juveniles (N = 5) was initiated later than adults (N = 20), was directed toward the southwest–significantly different from the initial southeast direction of adults–and included strikingly long Baltic Sea crossings (N = 3). After initial migration of juvenile cuckoos toward Poland, the migration direction changed and proceeded due south, directly toward the winter grounds, as revealed by a single tag transmitting until arrival in Northwest Angola where northern adult cuckoos regularly winter. Compared to adults, the juvenile travelled straighter and faster, potentially correcting for wind drift along the route. That both migration route and timing differed from adults indicates that juvenile cuckoos are able to reach proper wintering grounds independently, guided only by their innate migration programme.

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Series: PLoS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
ISSN-E: 1932-6203
ISSN-L: 1932-6203
Volume: 11
Issue: 12
Article number: e0168940
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0168940
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: KT, MLV, and MW were supported by The Danish Council for Independent Research through support to the MATCH project (1323-00048B) and Danish National Research Foundation through support to the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate (DNRF96). PS and TG were supported by the Czech Science Foundation (grant no. P506/12/2404) and TG by Human Frontier Science Program (awards RGY69/07 and RGY83/12). RLT was supported by Academy of Finland (#138049). The Research Council of Norway funded BGS and FF (218144). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Copyright information: © 2016 Vega et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.