Space use and site fidelity in the endangered Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita): Effects of age, season and sex

Verena Pühringer-Sturmayr, Julia Krejci, Richard Schuster, Sonia Kleindorfer, Kurt Kotrschal, Didone Frigerio, Matthias-Claudio Loretto

Understanding space use of endangered species is critical for conservation planning and management. The advances in technology and data analysis allow us to collect data with unprecedented quality and inform us about the movements and habitat use of individuals and groups. With only about 700 individuals left in the wild, the Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita is currently categorised as 'Endangered'. However, little is known about the movements of this avian species in relation to breeding and individual differences. Using GPS transmitters we studied the movements of 32 Northern Bald Ibis from a semi-wild free-flying colony at the Konrad Lorenz Research Center in Austria during 1-4 years per individual. We investigated how sex, age class, breeding and non-breeding season affect space use and site fidelity. We found that individuals consistently showed high site fidelity, adults more than juveniles, and space use was highly overlapping between individuals and over successive years. When moving between different areas birds used consistent flyways thereby avoiding direct routes over mountainous areas. Adults had more expansive space use during the breeding season as compared to the non-breeding season, while juveniles only showed a slight decrease during the non-breeding season. We found no sex differences regarding space use or site fidelity. Our results lead to a better understanding of how Northern Bald Ibis move through their environment and how they use foraging areas, roosting sites, and space in general that in turn can help to inform conservation management of extant colonies and reintroduction programmes for new colonies.

Core Facility KLF für Verhaltens- und Kognitionsbiologie, Department für Verhaltens- und Kognitionsbiologie
Externe Organisation(en)
Universität Wien, Carleton University Ottawa, Technische Universität München
Bird Conservation International
Anzahl der Seiten
ÖFOS 2012
106051 Verhaltensbiologie
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