The stopover behaviour of the Garden Warbler Sylvia borin in Obudu, southeast Nigeria
Keywords:migration, moult, intraspecific variation, fat deposition, migration phenology
The Garden Warbler breeds in the Palaearctic and migrates to sub-Saharan Africa for the non-breeding season. We studied its passage, body mass and moult at the Obudu Plateau in southeast Nigeria in October–December 2005 and December 2007–January 2008. In Nigeria, Garden Warblers in the Guinea savanna have been shown to increase body mass in October–November, preparing for migration to wintering sites further south. They begin to arrive at Obudu from mid-October and the numbers gradually increase with time; median date of passage was 3 December. This influx is clearly different from that which has been recorded for other sites in West Africa. The patterns in wing length and size-corrected body mass of individuals suggest a difference in the migration time of individuals of different sizes in the two years. Average fuel loads were lower at Obudu than has been reported in Central Nigeria. This, and the capture of moulting individuals, suggests that Garden Warblers may not embark on a longer journey southwards in mid winter, and possibly may even winter at Obudu.
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Copyright (c) 2011 Soladoye B Iwajomo, Ulf Ottosson, Yahkat Barshep, Anders Helseth, Mark F Hulme, Matthew Stevens, Jonas Waldenström
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