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Veery (Catharus Fuscescens) wintering locations, migratory connectivity, and a revision of its winter range using geolocator technology

By Christopher M. Heckscher, Syrena M. Taylor, James W. Fox and Vsevolod Afanasyev


We used light-level archival geolocators to track five Veeries (Catharus fuscescens) for one annual cycle as they migrated from Delaware to South America and back. Southward migration commenced in late August and September 2009. Veeries arrived at wintering sites from 2 November to 2 December 2009. All birds initially wintered in the Amazon basin south of the Amazon River in Mato Grosso, Para, and Amazonas states, Brazil. All birds showed intratropical migration to a second winter site between 7 January and 7 March 2010. These second winter sites were in the interior, northern, and southern periphery of the Amazon basin and the Orinoco River headwaters, Venezuela. Northward migration commenced in mid-April 2010, and the Veeries returned to Delaware between 29 April and 20 May 2010. Despite variation in migratory patterns, several stopover regions were visited by multiple individuals: the coasts of the Carolinas, the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba and Jamaica, the north coast of Colombia and Venezuela, and southern Venezuela. Our spatial and temporal data necessitates that the Veery winter range include the entire Amazon basin and the headwaters of the Orinoco River, as well as two disjunct regions in Merida state, Venezuela, and Sao Paulo state, Brazil. We hypothesize that Veeries initially settled in lowland forest and that intratropical migration was prompted by the ecological factors associated with the seasonal flood pulse of Amazonian rivers. If so, the Veery may be threatened by the recent, unprecedented proposed alteration of Amazonian lowland forests

Topics: Zoology, Ecology and Environment
Publisher: 'University of California Press'
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1525/auk.2011.10280
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