Desert crossing

Frédéric Jiguet et al.: Desert crossing strategies of migrant songbirds vary between and within species
Nature.com Scientific Reports  (2019) 9:20248

This paper includes analysis of the migrations of the recent Devon and Cambridgeshire geolocator Spotted Flycatchers.

Each year, billions of songbirds cross large ecological barriers during their migration. Understanding how they perform this incredible task is crucial to predict how global change may threaten the safety of such journeys. Earlier studies based on radar suggested that most songbirds cross deserts in intermittent flights at high altitude, stopping in the desert during the day, while recent tracking with light loggers suggested diurnal prolongation of nocturnal flights and common non-stop flights for some species. This study analyzed light intensity and temperature data obtained from geolocation loggers deployed on 130 individuals of ten migratory songbird species, and show that a large variety of strategies for crossing deserts exists between, but also sometimes within species.