Extreme nomadism in desert waterbirds: flights of the banded stilt

Pedler,RD, Ribot,RF and Bennett,AT 2014, Extreme nomadism in desert waterbirds: flights of the banded stilt, Biology letters, vol. 10, pp. 1-5, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0547.

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Title Extreme nomadism in desert waterbirds: flights of the banded stilt
Author(s) Pedler,RD
Ribot,RFORCID iD for Ribot,RF orcid.org/0000-0003-3869-8873
Bennett,ATORCID iD for Bennett,AT orcid.org/0000-0001-8512-2805
Journal name Biology letters
Volume number 10
Start page 1
End page 5
Total pages 5
Publisher Royal Society Publishing
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2014-10
ISSN 1744-957X
Keyword(s) banded stilt
movement ecology
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Evolutionary Biology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine - Other Topics
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Summary In contrast to well-studied Northern Hemisphere birds with spatially and temporally predictable seasonal migrations, waterbirds in desert biomes face major challenges in exploiting stochastic, rich, yet short-lived resource pulses in vast arid landscapes, leading to the evolution of nomadic behaviour. An extreme example is the banded stilt (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus), an opportunistic colonial breeder at remote inland salt lakes after infrequent rain events. Using satellite telemetry on 21 birds (tracked for a mean of 196.2 days), we reveal extensive, rapid and synchronized movement among individuals to and from salt lakes. Two birds left coastal refugia for the inland following rain, flying 1000-2000 km, while 12 others rapidly moved a mean of 684 km (range 357-1298 km) away from drying inland sites to the coast. Two individuals moved longitudinally across the continent, departing and arriving at the same points, yet travelling very different routes; one bird moving more than 2200 km in less than 2.5 days, the other more than 1500 km in 6 days. Our findings reveal movements nearly twice as long and rapid as recorded in other desert waterbirds. We reveal capability to rapidly detect and exploit ephemeral wetland resource pulses across the stochastic Australian desert.
Language eng
DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0547
Field of Research 060801 Animal Behaviour
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, Royal Society of Chemistry
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30072108

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