Navigation and migration in European mallards

Matthes D, Latorre-Margalef N, Schmidt A, Waldenström J, Wikelski M, van Toor ML. 2013. Navigation and migration in European mallards. Movebank Data Repository.
The ontogeny of continent-wide navigation mechanisms of the individual organism, despite being crucial for the understanding of animal movement and migration, is still poorly understood. Several previous studies, mainly conducted on passerines, indicate that inexperienced, juvenile birds may not generally correct for displacement during fall migration. Waterbirds such as the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos, Linnaeus 1758) are more flexible in their migration behavior than most migratory songbirds, but previous experiments with waterbirds have not yet allowed clear conclusions about their navigation abilities. Here we tested whether immature mallard ducks correct for latitudinal displacement during fall migration within Europe. During two consecutive fall migration periods, we caught immature females on a stopover site in southeast Sweden, and translocated a group of them ca. 1,000 km to southern Germany. We followed the movements of the ducks via satellite GPS-tracking and observed their migration decisions during the fall and consecutive spring migration. The control animals released in Ottenby behaved as expected from banding recoveries: they continued migration during the winter and in spring returned to the population’s breeding grounds in the Baltics and Northwest Russia. Contrary to the control animals, the translocated mallards did not continue migration and stayed at Lake Constance. In spring, three types of movement tactics could be observed: 61.5% of the ducks (16 of 26) stayed around Lake Constance, 27% (7 of 26) migrated in a northerly direction towards Sweden and 11.5% of the individuals (3 of 26) headed east for ca. 1,000 km and then north. We suggest that young female mallards flexibly adjust their migration tactics and develop a navigational map that allows them to return to their natal breeding area.
Anas platyrhynchos,animal migration,animal navigation,Argos,Europe,mallard,satellite telemetry
Related Workflows
  title = {Navigation and migration in European mallards},
  author = {Matthes, D and Latorre-Margalef, N and Schmidt, A and Waldenström, J and Wikelski, M and van, Toor, ML},
  year = {2013},
  URL = {},
  doi = {doi:10.5441/001/1.8dc0v84m/1},
  publisher = {Movebank data repository}
ID  - doi:10.5441/001/1.8dc0v84m/1
T1  - Navigation and migration in European mallards
AU  - Matthes, Doris
AU  - Latorre-Margalef, Neus
AU  - Schmidt, Andreas
AU  - Waldenström, Jonas
AU  - Wikelski, Martin
AU  - van Toor, Mariëlle L.
Y1  - 2013/10/11
KW  - Anas platyrhynchos
KW  - animal migration
KW  - animal navigation
KW  - Argos
KW  - Europe
KW  - mallard
KW  - satellite telemetry
KW  - Anas platyrhynchos
PB  - Movebank data repository
UR  -
DO  - doi:10.5441/001/1.8dc0v84m/1
ER  -