In order to understand the current changes and to predict future changes in wintering dabbling duck (Anas sp.) distributions in response to climate change, it is important to understand how species distribute themselves on a continental scale in response to temperature. Thermoregulatory costs are likely to play a major role in determining the wintering distribution of short- to medium-distance migratory bird species and its inter-annual variability. As avian thermoregulatory costs scale allometrically with body size, we predicted that the mean mid-winter temperature experienced by six species of dabbling ducks wintering in Western Europe would be negatively correlated with body mass. We found no evidence for such a relationship in a large-scale analysis testing for a link between temperature and dabbling duck distributions, suggesting that other factors such as those related to feeding ecology are more important in shaping mid-winter duck distributions than factors related to thermoregulation alone.
Dabbling ducks; waterbirds; Climate Change
Main Research Area:
The XVth Nordic Congress of Wildlife Research, 2011