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Migration of the Willow Flycatcher along the Middle Rio Grande

Yong, Wang; Finch, Deborah M. 1997. Migration of the Willow Flycatcher along the Middle Rio Grande. Wilson Bulletin. 109(2): 253-268.

We studied timing, abundance, subspecies composition, fat stores, stopover length, and habitat use of Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii) during spring and fall stopover along the Middle Rio Grande, New Mexico. Spring migration started in mid-May and lasted about a month. Fall migration started in early-August and also lasted about a month. The most abundant subspecies was the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (E. t. extimus), followed by E. t. brewsteri, E. t. adastus, and E. t. traillii. Nearly half of the Willow Flycatchers captured had no observable fat. Spring flycatchers had more fat stores than fall flycatchers. Willow habitat had the highest capture rate among the habitats sampled. Willow Flycatchers caught in willow habitat had higher fat stores than those caught elsewhere. Recaptured Willow Flycatchers had an average body mass gain of 1.6%/day with a short stopover length. Most Willow Flycatchers were unable to reach their destinations in a single flight, making it necessary for them to replenish their energy stores elsewhere en route. We suggest that the riparian woodlands of the middle Rio Grande provide important refueling sites for stopover flycatchers as they migrate between their breeding and wintering grounds.

Keywords: Willow Flycatchers, Empidonax traillii, Middle Rio Grande, migration, fat stores

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Migration of the Willow Flycatcher along the Middle Rio Grande
Electronic Publish Date: July 16, 2010
Last Update:
July 16, 2010

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