SEEN - SE European Bird Migration Network
Autumn migration dynamics, body mass, fat load and stopover behavior of the Willow Warbler at Manyas Kuscenneti National Park (Northwest Turkey)

Ozgur Kesapl? Didrickson1,2, Jno Didrickson2, C. Can Bilgin1 and Przemysław Busse3
1 Biodiversity and Conservation Lab, METU, 06531 Ankara, Turkey
2 Turkish Bird Research Society, P.K. 311, Yenisehir, 06443 Ankara, Turkey
3Bird Migration Research Station, University of Gdansk, Przebendowo, 84-210 Choczewo, Poland

Turkey lies on one of major migratory routes between Palearctic and Afrotropical regions. Despite its importance for many species, few studies exist on bird migration over Turkey. In this study, autumn migration dynamics and stopover behavior of the Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), a small insectivorous passerine, was documented and analyzed at Manyas Kuscenneti National Park (northwestern Turkey). Birds were mistnetted, ringed, measured, weighed and fat-scored from mid August in 2002 and end of August in 2003 to end of October in both years. Totally 543 and 929 Willow Warblers were ringed in 2002 and 2003 respectively. For 2002 and 2003 respectively, fat score values (mean}SE) are 4.63}0.06 and 3.84}0.05 and body mass values are 11.38}0.07 and 10.37}0.05 grams for birds captured the first time. Fat scores in 2003 show a bimodal distribution with peaks of T2 and T5, indicating populations or age classes with different migratory strategies. The number of retraps constituted 9.2-12.1 % of the total in 2002 and 2003. In both years, minimum stopover length ranged from 1 to 15 or 16 days with a median of 5 days. The majority of the retraps put on significant fat in both years. Retraps continued to put on weight for up to two weeks after they arrived. In this first ever study documenting passerine migration at Manyas Kuscenneti National Park, it was revealed that such wetlands provide crucial stopover habitat for many migrant passerines, enables them to gain necessary fat loads before crossing two ecological barriers, the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara.

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