Welcome to Movebank's data repository!

Through this repository, Movebank allows users to publish animal tracking datasets that have been uploaded to Movebank (www.movebank.org). Published datasets have gone through a submission and review process, and are typically associated with a written study published in an academic journal. All animal tracking data in this repository are available to the public.

We invite you to read more about the repository and browse the datasets.



Recent Publications

Data package
Data from: Seasonal shifts in tropical insect ephemerality drive bat foraging effort
(2024-06-26) Kohles, Jenna E.; Page, Rachel A.; Wikelski, Martin; Dechmann, Dina K.N.
Animal foraging is fundamentally shaped by food distribution and availability. However, the quantification of spatiotemporal food distribution is rare but crucial to explain variation in foraging behavior among species, populations, or individuals. Clumped but ephemeral food sources enable rapid energy intake but require increased effort to find, can generate variable foraging success, and force animals to forage more efficiently. We quantified seasonal shifts in the availability of such resources to test the proximate effects of food distribution on changes in movement patterns. The neotropical lesser bulldog bat (Noctilio albiventris) forages in a seasonal environment on emerging aquatic insects, whose numbers peak shortly after dusk. We GPS-tracked bats and quantified nocturnal insect distribution in their foraging area using floating camera traps across wet and dry seasons. Surprisingly, insects were 75% less abundant and swarms were 60% shorter lived (more ephemeral) in the wet season. As a result, wet season bats had to fly twice as far (total and maximum distance from roost distances) and 45% longer (duration) per night. Within foraging bouts, wet season bats spent less time in each insect patch and searched longer for subsequent patches, reflecting increased temporal ephemerality and decreased spatial predictability of insects. Our results highlight the tight link between foraging effort and spatiotemporal distribution of food, and the influence of constraints imposed by reproduction on behavioral flexibility and adaptations to the highly dynamic resource landscapes of mobile prey. Examining foraging behavior in light of spatiotemporal dynamics of resources can help predict how animals respond to shifts in food availability caused by escalating environmental changes.
Data package
Data from: Study "King Eider Alaska (UAF / USGS)"
(2024-06-24) Powell, Abby N.; Oppel, Steffen; McGuire, Rebecca
Post-fledging dispersal and site fidelity are poorly understood, particularly for sea ducks that spend the majority of their annual cycle at sea. This is the first description of movements and their timing for first-year (juvenile) and second-year (subadult) King Eiders Somateria spectabilis in relation to their attendant females. We fitted satellite transmitters that operated for 2 years to 63 hatch-year birds and 17 attendant females at breeding areas in northern Alaska in 2006–2009. Our goals were to describe the spatio-temporal distribution of pre-breeding individuals and adult females that had been successful breeders. We also examined fidelity to wing moulting and wintering areas as well as natal philopatry. Juveniles did not appear to follow attendant adults, although they did winter in the same three general wintering areas, suggesting that genetic inheritance and social factors may have roles in the initial migration from the breeding area. Additionally, juveniles were more variable in the timing and duration of migration, moved longer distances during the winter, and were less faithful to moulting and wintering areas than adults, indicating that individual exploration and acquired navigational memory played a role in subsequent migrations. Most (75%) subadult females returned to natal areas, probably prospecting for future nesting sites, whereas subadult males were widely dispersed at sea. Timing and duration of moult migration and wing moult of adult females that were presumed to be successful breeders differed from those of unsuccessful breeders due to the extended time that the former spent on the breeding grounds. Temporal and spatial segregation of post-fledging King Eiders from adults has direct management implications in terms of resource development and population dynamics.
Data package
Data from: Winter GPS tagging reveals home ranges during the breeding season for a boreal-nesting migrant songbird, the Golden-crowned Sparrow
(2024-06-17) Iverson, Autumn R.; Humple, Diana L.; Cormier, Renée L.; Hahn, Thomas P.; Hull, Elisha M.
Determining space use for species is fundamental to understanding their ecology, and tracking animals can reveal insights into their spatial ecology on home ranges and territories. Recent technological advances have led to GPS-tracking devices light enough for birds as small as ~30 g, creating novel opportunities to remotely monitor fine-scale movements and space use for these smaller species. We tested whether miniaturized GPS tags can allow us to understand space use of migratory birds away from their capture sites and sought to understand both pre-breeding space use as well as territory and habitat use on the breeding grounds. We used GPS tags to characterize home ranges on the breeding grounds for a migratory songbird with limited available breeding information, the Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla). Using GPS points from 23 individuals across 26 tags (three birds tagged twice), we found home ranges in Alaska and British Columbia were on average 44.1 ha (95% kernel density estimate). In addition, estimates of territory sizes based on field observations (mean 2.1 ha, 95% minimum convex polygon [MCP]) were three times smaller than 95% MCPs created using GPS tags (mean 6.5 ha). Home ranges included a variety of land cover classes, with shrubland particularly dominant (64–100% of home range cover for all but one bird). Three birds tracked twice returned to the same breeding area each year, supporting high breeding site fidelity for this species. We found reverse spring migration for five birds that flew up to 154 km past breeding destinations before returning. GPS-tracking technology allowed for critical ecological insights into this migratory species that breeds in very remote locations.
Data package
Data from: Scouts vs usurpers: alternative foraging strategies facilitate coexistence between Neotropical cathartid vultures
(2024-04-29) Christopher, Beirne; Thomas, Mark; Basto, Arianna; Flatt, Eleanor; Diaz, Giancarlo Inga; Chulla, Diego Rolim; Mullisaca, Flor Perez; Quispe, Rosio Vega; Quispe, Caleb Jonatan Quispe; Forsyth, Adrian; Whitworth, Andrew
Understanding how diverse assemblages of scavengers can coexist on shared ecological resources is a fundamental challenge in community ecology. However, current approaches typically focus on behaviour at carcass provisioning sites, missing how important differences in movement behaviour and foraging strategies can facilitate sympatric species coexistence. Such information is particularly important for vultures – obligate scavengers representing the most endangered avian foraging guild. Their loss from ecosystems can trigger trophic cascades, mesopredator release and disease outbreaks. We provide the first-ever analyses of GPS location data from wild King Vultures Sarcoramphus papa and Greater Yellow-headed Vultures Cathartes melambrotus, coupled with trait data (from both wild-living and museum specimens) and visitation data from camera traps deployed at provisioned carcasses, to characterize vulture flight behaviour and strategies in the Peruvian Amazon. We found marked species differences in several key movement characteristics, including: King Vultures having home-ranges five times larger, average flight heights four times greater and ground speeds 40% faster than those of Greater Yellow-headed Vultures. Despite these differences, both species flew similar distances each day (on average), probably due to King Vultures taking 50% fewer flights and spending 40% less time in the air per day. Consistent with these patterns, King Vulture body mass was more than double that of the Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, with a substantially larger hang wing index (a measure of long-distance flight efficiency). At carcasses, Greater Yellow-headed Vultures typically arrived first but were rapidly outnumbered by both King and Black Vultures Coragyps atratus. We find that the movement behaviour of obligate apex scavengers in the western Amazon is linked to their ability to coexist – Greater Yellow-headed Vultures, a smaller stature ‘scouting’ species adapted to fly low, forage early and arrive first at carcasses, are ultimately displaced by larger-bodied, wider ranging King Vultures at large ephemeral carrion resources. Expansion of future GPS tracking initiatives could facilitate the exploration of direct facultative interactions from animal movement data and give further insight into how diverse communities assemble and interact.
Data package
Data from: GPS tracking technology and re-visiting the relationship between the avian visual wulst and homing pigeon navigation
(2024-04-02) Cioccarelli, Sara; Giunchi, Dimitri; Pollonara, Enrica; Casini, Giovanni; Bingman, Verner P.; Gagliardo, Anna
Within their familiar areas homing pigeons rely on familiar visual landscape features and landmarks for homing. However, the neural basis of visual landmark-based navigation has been so far investigated mainly in relation to the role of the hippocampal formation. The avian visual Wulst is the telencephalic projection field of the thalamofugal pathway that has been suggested to be involved in processing lateral visual inputs that originate from the far visual field. The Wulst is therefore a good candidate for a neural structure participating in the visual control of familiar visual landmark-based navigation. We repeatedly released and tracked Wulst-lesioned and control homing pigeons from three sites about 10-15 km from the loft. Wulst lesions did not impair the ability of the pigeons to orient homeward during the first release from each of the three sites nor to localise the loft within the home area. In addition, Wulst-lesioned pigeons displayed unimpaired route fidelity acquisition to a repeated homing path compared to the intact birds. However, compared to control birds, Wulst-lesioned pigeons displayed persistent oscillatory flight patterns across releases, diminished attention to linear (leading lines) landscape features, such as roads and wood edges, and less direct flight paths within the home area. Differences and similarities between the effects of Wulst and hippocampal lesions suggest that although the visual Wulst does not seem to play a direct role in the memory representation of a landscape-landmark map, it does seem to participate in influencing the perceptual construction of such a map.