Migration and wintering of Reed Buntings (Emberiza schoeniclus) in Spain.


Published: Volume 46(1), June 1999. Pages 71-80.

Language: Spanish

Original Title: Migración e invernada del Escribano Palustre (Emberiza schoeniclus) en España.

Keywords: Emberiza schoeniclus, migration, ringing recoveries, Spain and wintering.


The migration and wintering patterns in Spain of Reed Buntings were described from ring-recovery data for 451 birds. Differential migration according to the age and sex of birds was also analyzed, paying special attention to latitudinal differences. Recoveries of Reed Buntings in Spain occur mainly on the Cantabrian, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic coasts and in the Ebro and Tajo valleys (Figs. 1 and 2). The origins and winter distribution of recoveries suggest two different migratory fronts. Birds from Fennoscandia and the European Atlantic countries migrate through the European Atlantic coast and winter mainly along the Cantabrian coast and in the central part of Spain. The second migratory front comes from central Europe and winters mainly along the Mediterranean coasts and in southwestern Spain. The breeding areas of Reed Buntings wintering in Spain are mainly located in central and western Europe (Germany, Benelux and France) and, to a lesser extent, in northern (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Baltic Countries) and eastern (Poland, ex-Checoslovaquia) Europe. Although most recoveries are located east of 4ºW and north of 40ºN, the autumn migration takes place mainly along the Mediterranean coast, whereas the spring migration occurs across the whole Iberian Peninsula. A trend of males to winter further north and east than females was found, whereas there were no differences in the geographical distribution of young and adult birds in winter. The sex ratio of the winter population is skewed towards females in Spain (2:1), contrary to the pattern reported for more northern countries (1:2). The arrival of Reed Buntings to Spain begins in September, although it is not important until October, and the departure takes place in February-March (Fig. 3). Males show an earlier autumn and spring migration than females. No phenological differences could be detected between adult and young birds.

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