Drought in Africa Caused Delayed Arrival of European Songbirds

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Science  07 Dec 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6112, pp. 1307
DOI: 10.1126/science.1227548

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Despite an overall advancement in breeding area arrival, one of the latest spring arrivals in northwest Europe since 1950 of several trans-Saharan songbird species occurred in 2011. Year-round tracking of red-backed shrikes and thrush nightingales revealed that the cause of the delay was a prolongation of stopover time during spring migration at the Horn of Africa, which was affected by extreme drought. Our results help to establish a direct link at the individual level between changes in local climate during migration and arrival and breeding condition in Europe thousands of kilometers further north.

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