During the autumn migration period, northern
populations commonly reach southern stopover sites where they meet conspecifics
that may still be breeding or at least still at their breeding sites.
Establishing whether local breeding birds overlap temporally with migrants is
essential to studying the strategies adopted by the former when they have to
suddenly cope with conspecific influxes. Our objectives here were (1) to
establish the phenology of local and transient birds within the study area and
(2) to test whether biometrics can differentiate between these two groups.
Local reed warblers were observed nesting until the end of July; these birds
were recaptured up to late August (although very few later than mid-August),
suggesting that at least some individuals depart from the area before most
non-locals arrive. Local breeding birds were found to have longer wings than
non-locals. A discriminant function classified 73.4% of the non-local and local
reed warblers correctly, indicating considerable morphological overlap between
the two groups.
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