Elaenia albiceps

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Scientific Name
Elaenia albiceps
Common Name
White-crested Elaenia
Taxa Group
Move Mode

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  • Data package
    Data from: Migratory timing, rate, routes and wintering areas of white-crested elaenia (Elaenia albiceps chilensis), a key seed disperser for Patagonian forest regeneration
    (2017-01-30) Cueto, Victor R.; Bravo, Susana P.
    Migratory animals often play key ecological roles within the communities they visit throughout their annual journeys. As a consequence of the links between biomes mediated by migrants, changes in one biome could affect remote areas in unpredictable ways. Migratory routes and timing of most Neotropical austral migrants, which breed at south temperate latitudes of South America and overwinter closer to or within tropical latitudes of South America, have yet to be described in detail. As a result, our understanding about how these birds provide links between South American biomes is almost non-existent. White-crested Elaenia (Elaenia albiceps chilensis) is a long-distance austral migrant that breeds in the Patagonian Forest biome and overwinters in tropical South America. Because this small flycatcher plays a key role in the regeneration of this ecosystem, our objective was to describe the annual cycle of White-crested elaenias to evaluate the degree of migratory connectivity between breeding and wintering areas and therefore to determine if there are specific biomes of northern South America linked by elaenias to Patagonian forests. Fifteen individuals were successfully tracked throughout a complete migration cycle using miniature light-level geolocators. All individuals resided and moved through the same general regions. During fall (March-April-May), elaenias were located in the Caatinga and the Atlantic Forest biomes, from Rio de Janeiro to the region near Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. During winter (June-July-Aug), birds were located further inland, within the Cerrado biome. Birds used three different routes during fall migration. Our results indicate that some individuals use a direct route, flying between 500-600 km/day, crossing desert and grasslands, while others took a detour, flying 100-200 km/day through forested areas with refueling opportunities. All birds used the Yunga forest during spring migration, with ten out 15 individuals showing a clear counterclockwise loop trajectories throughout their annual cycle. None of the elaenias passed through Amazonia, traveled to western South America or crossed the Equator. Eleanias exhibited a high migratory connectivity between breeding area in Patagonian Forests and winter areas, Atlantic Forest and Cerrado. Our results suggest that Patagonian Forests could be strongly impacted by changes in those biomes or in the Yungas.
  • Data package
    Data from: White-crested Elaenias (Elaenia albiceps chilensis) breeding across Patagonia exhibit similar spatial and temporal movement patterns throughout the year
    (2024-04-02) Jara, Rocío Fernanda; Jiménez, Jaime Enrique; Ricardo, Rozzi
    For migratory birds, events happening during any period of their annual cycle can have strong carry-over effects on the subsequent periods. The strength of carry-over effects between non-breeding and breeding grounds can be shaped by the degree of migratory connectivity: whether or not individuals that breed together also migrate and/or spend the non-breeding season together. We assessed the annual cycle of the White-crested Elaenia (Elaenia albiceps chilensis), the longest-distance migrant flycatcher within South America, which breeds in Patagonia and spends the non-breeding season as far north as Amazonia. Using light-level geolocators, we tracked the annual movements of elaenias breeding on southern Patagonia and compared it with movements of elaenias breeding in northern Patagonia (1,365 km north) using Movebank Repository data. We found that elaenias breeding in southern Patagonia successively used two separate non-breeding regions while in their Brazilian non-breeding grounds, as already found for elaenias breeding in the northern Patagonia site. Elaenias breeding in both northern and southern Patagonia also showed high spread in their non-breeding grounds, high non-breeding overlap among individuals from both breeding sites, and similar migration phenology, all of which suggests weak migratory connectivity for this species. Elucidating the annual cycle of this species, with particular emphasis on females and juveniles, still requires further research across a wide expanse of South America. This information will be critical to understanding and possibly predicting this species’ response to climate change and rapid land-use changes.