What drives long-distance movements in nomadic Grey Teal Anas gracilis in Australia?.

David Roshier, Martin Asmus, Marcel Klaassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


In contrast to northern temperate environments, where day length and temperature changes are obvious proximate cues for movement to resource-rich breeding habitats, the cues for movement used by birds in an often resource-poor, stochastic environment are less obvious. We recorded long-distance movements of 23 Grey Teal Anas gracilis using satellite telemetry for up to 879 days and examined the relationship between those movements and environmental factors, such as heavy rainfall and flooding, at the destination site. We identified 32 long-distance (> 150 km) movements that met our criterion for minimally interrupted flight between origin and destination. Thirteen of these flights coincided with rainfall and/or flooding events up to 1050 km from the origin. However, some ducks moved without any clear beneficial conditions at the destination onto small wetlands in regions with little surface water. The data suggest that there are two types of long-distance movement ' ranging and directed. These flights occurred over distances up to 1200 km across the arid inland. The rates and distances of movement suggest that long-distance movements of Grey Teal entail high energy costs as in waterfowl elsewhere. We conclude that the proximate controls of directed movements need not be very different from those of their temperate counterparts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-484
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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