Philopatry analysis of the great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) based on ringing data in Europe

Norbert Mátrai 1 , József Gyurácz 2 , Mihály Lenczl 3 , Gyula Hoffmann 4 , Gábor Bakonyi 1  and Róbert Mátics
  • 1 Department of Zoology and Animal Ecology, Szent István University, 2100, Gödöllő, Páter K. Str. 1., Hungary
  • 2 Department of Zoology, University of West Hungary, POB 170., 9701, Szombathely, Hungary
  • 3 Institute of Isotopes CO., LTD, Konkoly Thege Miklós Rd. 29-33., Budapest, Hungary
  • 4 Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of Pécs, 7643, Pécs, Hungary
  • 5 Department of Pathophysiology and Gerontology, University of Pécs, H-7643, Szigeti Rd. 12., 7643, Pécs, Hungary
  • 6 Hungarian Nature Research Society (HuNaReS), H-8448, Ajka, Vadvirág u. 5., Hungary


Ringing databases of the EURING Data Bank and the Hungarian Bird Ringing Centre were analysed in order to investigate the philopatry of the great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) in three European regions. The aim of the study was to find out if there are continent-scale geographic trends in philopatry with respect to the age of the birds. Three clusters were assigned according to their geographic positions: (i) southern part of Europe (Region 1: between 36°–43° latitudes), (ii) middle part of Europe (Region 2: between 43°–49° latitudes) and (iii) northern part of Europe, (Region 3: between 49°–56° latitudes). No significant differences were found between the natal and breeding philopatry in any Regions, except Region 3. The birds ringed as adults in Region 3 were less faithful to their breeding site than those of the other two regions. Natal philopatry of juveniles did not differ between Region 1 and Region 2, but both of them differed in this respect from Region 3. A method for choosing appropriate breeding periods in philopatry studies is also proposed.

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