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Title: Post‐migratory nonbreeding movements of birds: A review and case study

Seasonal migrations are fascinating and ecologically important, but many migratory species are declining as climate change and land‐use change alter the habitats used by migrants across the annual cycle. While some migratory birds use a single wintering site, others undertake large‐scale post‐migratory movements during the nonbreeding season. Technological advances that enable tracking individual birds are uncovering more examples of post‐migratory nonbreeding movements. Documenting these movements is important for conservation, which requires understanding when and where migrants use habitats throughout their range. Here, we reviewed existing literature and collected information on the post‐migratory nonbreeding movements of 92 migratory bird species from 18 orders across six continents. Among these records, the most commonly reported drivers of movements were resource availability and climate. This strong dependence of post‐migratory nonbreeding movements on birds' abiotic and biotic environments suggests that environmental change will impact the patterns of these movements and potentially the fitness of species that undertake them. We also reviewed post‐migratory nonbreeding movements in North American‐breeding thrushes from the genusCatharusto examine the drivers of these movements in five closely related migratory species. We find that species that are less territorial are more likely to use multiple sites during the nonbreeding season; however, there is little evidence for dietary, evolutionary, or environmental differences between thrush species that move during winter and those that are stationary. While we believe our study represents the most comprehensive list of species exhibiting post‐migratory nonbreeding movements to date, biases in sampling, a lack of common terminology for these movements, and the still‐nascent availability of inexpensive, lightweight tracking devices mean that there are probably more populations that undertake such movements. Future research into the consequences of post‐migratory nonbreeding movements for individual fitness and ecosystem services would advance our understanding of their conservation importance and their evolution.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Ecology and Evolution
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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