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How do red knots Calidris canutus leave Northwest Australia in May and reach the breeding grounds in June? Predictions of stopover times, fuelling rates and prey quality in the Yellow Sea

Battley, P.F. and Rogers, D.I. and Van Gils, J.A. and Piersma, T. and Hassell, C.J. and Boyle, A. and Hong-Yan, Y. (2005) How do red knots Calidris canutus leave Northwest Australia in May and reach the breeding grounds in June? Predictions of stopover times, fuelling rates and prey quality in the Yellow Sea. Journal of Avian Biology, 36, 494-500. ISSN 0908-8857.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0908-8857.2005.03730.x

Abstract

In general, Arctic-breeding waders leave non-breeding grounds in Australasia from March (New Zealand) to mid-April (Northwest Australia). Here we provide evidence from radio-tracking and visual observations that many red knots Calidris canutus do not leave Roebuck Bay, Northwest Australia, until early or mid-May. Late-departing red knots probably belong to the subspecies piersmai, which breeds on the New Siberian Islands, 10,400 km from Northwest Australia. Based on comparisons of temperatures on the breeding grounds of different knot subspecies, we predict that piersmai knots would not arrive on the breeding grounds until early June, leaving at most 3–4 weeks refuelling in Asia. Using a model of fuelling capacity in relation to prey quality and gizzard mass, we show that these knots must fuel very differently in Australia and Asia. In Australia, knots have seemingly suboptimal gizzard sizes and deposit fuel slowly. In the Yellow Sea, birds could only fuel up within the available time if they either enlarged their gizzards substantially or encountered prey qualities much higher than in Australia, for which we provide quantitative predictions.

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO)
ID Code:11648
Deposited On:23 Nov 2011 01:00
Last Modified:31 Mar 2014 11:04

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